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ECOnetic is a tradename for certain car models produced by Ford of Europe, currently consisting of one model in each of the Fiesta and the Focus range, with an emphasis on higher fuel efficiency and low-CO2 emissions.
As opposed to developing hybrid vehicles like Toyota did with the Prius, Ford of Europe took a different design philosophy: to create vehicles that are as fuel efficient as possible today, without compromising driving experience.
Hence the ECOnetic range doesn’t rely on different fuels, batteries or ‘bolted on’ technology, but improved design and refinement of existing technology. ECOnetic develops three main streams of improvement:
- Aerodynamics: models have a redesigned front bumper skirt, which are more aerodynamic, and reduces drag further through use of a smaller lower grill. The car is then lowered on its suspension to improve angle of address to the air, in the case of the Focus by 10 millimetres (0.39 in) on the front, and 8 millimetres (0.31 in) on the rear. To the side, skirts are introduced together with hubcaps designed to improve airflow. A new and extended rear spoiler reduces rear drag
- Resistance: Ford worked with Michelin to create a thinner tyre with lower rolling resistance. The engine's bearings are replaced with lower-resistance versions
- Efficiency: engineers re-mapped the 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine, equipped with a coated Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF), and recalibrated the power steering system. The ECOnetic was the first Ford car to use low-friction transmission oil, which is now uniform on all 1.6-litre diesel European-produced Fords. The first version of the ECOnetic did not use higher gear ratios, as engineers found that fitting longer gear ratios in the five-speed gearbox hindered driveability. The proposed 2012 Focus version will have a six-speed gearbox, with sixth gear an effective high-gear overdrive.
First announced in late-2007, Ford proposed ECOnetic models in the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo ranges. The Mondeo model launch plans were later dropped.
The first cars were available to order from dealers in early 2008, priced at £250 above the "Style" models. Focus models were delivered to customers in the United Kingdom from April 2008, and had such low emissions that it was in the lowest bracket of Vehicle Excise Duty, while the Fiesta was totally exempt VED. Further, the cars were both exempt form the London Congestion Charge.
The second generation Fiesta ECOnetic was launched at the 2008 British International Motor Show, which with CO2 emissions of 98 g/km made its Britain’s lowest emitting mass production diesel car. To encourage drivers to be efficient, a green indicator light signals the most economical time to change gear. This improvement was later introduced to the Focus model.
- New fuel injection system and turbocharger for the 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi, producing 109 metric horsepower (80 kW)
- Six-speed gearbox with overdrive top gear
- Smart Regenerative Charging to reduce alternator resistance
- Auto-Start-Stop to cut the engine in traffic
- Electrically operated front grille shutter, to improve high speed aerodynamics.
The car will emit less than 95 g/km of CO2, placing it in the lowest UK VED band resulting in no annual tax payment, and exemption from the London Congestion Charge zone. The car has presently been tested to be capable of 80 mpg, putting it ahead of the 70.6 mpg Toyota Prius Hybrid and 74.3 mpg Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion.
It is not presently planned to introduce ECOnetic models to the North American market, because, as Business Week noted, the company "doesn't believe it could charge enough to make money on an imported ECOnetic" and doesn't think it would sell enough of the model (350,000/year) to justify the $350 million in upgrades required at their Mexico plant to manufacture it.
- "New Ford Focus: what is 'Econetic'?". AutoTrader.co.uk. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- "Ford Fiesta ECOnetic – UK’s greenest car". AutoTrader.co.uk. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- "FRUGAL NEW FORD FOCUS ECONETIC USES AUTO-START-STOP TO ACHIEVE 99G/KMCO2 & 74.2 MPG FUEL ECONOMY | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". Media.ford.com. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
- "Ford Focus ECOnetic: 80mpg". AutoTrader.co.uk. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- Kiley, David (4 September 2008). "The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
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