If you’re like me, you looked at this picture of Ford’s 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine going through airport security, and you thought to yourself “Cool.” But the implications of this picture of far-ranging and incredibly important to the future of the automobile.
Think about this for a minute; Ford is sending an engine block through airport security as a checked item. This is the same company known for building 7.0 liter, 427 cubic-inch muscle car motors back in the 1960s, and that even today offers a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 making 662 horsepower. That translates to an impressive 114 horsepower per liter.
Yet Ford has somehow managed to extract up to 202 horsepower from this one-liter power plant in racing guise. Even the Ford Fiesta you’ll find on dealership lots with this 1.0 liter engine will deliver 123 horsepower, which is STILL more horsepower per liter than the Shelby. That is utterly mind-blowing when you look at JUST how tiny this engine really is. While this is without a doubt a publicity stunt, to me this is a look at the near-future of the automobile; small engines making lots of power.
There are those of you that will rightly point out that electric motors can deliver nearly as much power and way more torque in a similarly sized package. True. But until automakers figure out the battery issues of cost and range, or learn how to properly market EVs to a limited niche of city folk, EV technology will be on the outside looking in.
I think the real future, at least for the next decade or two, will be small engines either on their own or combined with plug-in hybrid technology. Once a few generations of drivers have experienced zero-emissions driving without range anxiety (which has turned out to be quite real), pure electric vehicles will make serious inroads with the car-driving public.
Ya, I got all of that from a picture of an engine block going through airport security.