Ford Motor Co. will be investing $500 million to boost the capacity of its engine plant at Lima, Ohio. The automaker plans to make the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine for its redesigned F-150 pickup at this factory.
Ford’s Lima plant, which was opened in 1957, currently produces the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter V-6 engines used in the following models: Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln MKT and Lincoln MKZ. There are 900 hourly and salaried workers employed at the plant, 700 of which work on the current iterations of the aforementioned engines.
The new V-6 will be the 40-millionth engine to roll off the Lima plant’s assembly line.
The company’s hefty investment will be used to renovate 700,000 square feet of the plant to give way to a more flexible engine assembly and machining system. It will also add 300 more jobs to the facility.
The 2015 F-150 pickup truck is the first Ford model to be equipped with the new compact and lightweight engine. The new V-6 engine and the 2015 model year F-150 made their debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
In a statement, Ford announced that production of the new engine at the Lima plant will start in the fourth quarter of the year to coincide with the launch of the 2015 F-150. However, the carmaker did not offer other details about the latest V-6, such as its power and expected fuel economy.
This announcement comes at a time when V-6-powered pickups are enjoying great sales and the Detroit 3 are seeking to boost truck fuel economy in order to meet new EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirements. Truck fuel economy must be increased to 30.2 mpg by 2025.
According to Ford, there will be four engine options for its next-generation F-150 trucks. The four engines to be used in the 2015 F-150 trucks are the following: the 3.5-liter V6, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a 5-liter V8 and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. All will be available with six-speed automatic transmission.
There are four engine options for the current model at present, but the 6.2-liter V8 will be phased out with the arrival of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6.
The 2.7-liter engine has a cylinder block that features compacted graphite iron and aluminum heads. Thanks to this engine, the automatic start-stop will be available on F-150 models for the first time. The start-stop feature switches off the engine when the vehicle is stopped for short periods of time, thus saving fuel when driving in the city.
Ford foresees huge demand for the new V-6. It said that while the 6.2-liter V8 engine accounted for just 5 percent of the 2014 F-150 model sales, the 5-liter V8 has accounted for 38 percent. However, the best-selling engine of the current model is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
The automaker claims that its smaller engines are better in terms of efficiency as well as fuel economy, all while providing the power of their larger counterparts.
Photo credit: ford.com