Ford ‘Bobcat’ dual-fuel powerplant: diesel-like performance out of a gasoline engine

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

The new powerplant nicknamed the Bobcat is a new small turbocharged unit which Ford is currently working and claims to have the capability of delivering the performance of a diesel minus the price of a diesel engine. The powerplant, which comes with separate fuel injectors for gasoline and ethanol (E85), variably mixes both fuels for enhanced fuel efficiency and power boost.

With the port injection, the gasoline system combines air and fuel in the intake manifold, and then the ethanol system utilizes direct injection to spray small volumes of ethanol into the combustion chamber to prevent untimely discharges, or engine knocking, which is a consequence of high temperature combined with the pressure of a turbocharged powerplant. The purpose of the ethanol is to cool the air and fuel mixture until the powerplant is ready to ignite the fuel. 

This process eliminates untimely detonation which results in a boost in compression ratio. Ford has partnered with a company called Ethanol Boosting Systems which has patented the term DI Octane Boost which is an apt description of this process.

This designation was selected because the octane of regular gasoline is between 88-91, however, with ethanol direct injection it can be raised to 150 octane or more. Depending on the load conditions of the powerplant, the engine varies the ratio of gasoline and ethanol. For instance, with a low to medium load, only gasoline may be needed.

However, with the increase of engine load, the direct injected ethanol would be included for knock prevention. For an example, the 5.0-liter V8 Bobcat unit can produce 500hp and 750lb-ft of torque when this technology is utilized. A car that will use this technology is required to have two fuel tanks, one for regular unleaded gasoline and another for E85.

Ford has provided a comparison between a Bobcat that comes with a 5.0 V8 equipped with a 10 gallon E85 tank and 26 gallon gas tank and a Ford F150 equipped with a 5.4-liter V8 with a 26 gallon gasoline tank.

The Bobcat requires refueling for gasoline every 528 miles and every 20,000 miles for E85 for mild driving conditions. In contrast the 5.4-liter F150 requires refueling every 486 miles in the same driving conditions.

Topics: ford, diesel, engine

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