Matt Greenop: When green gives us grunt

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The 1.0-litre EcoBoost Formula Ford at Nurburgring. Photo / Supplied
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost Formula Ford at Nurburgring. Photo / Supplied

The news this week that Ford has managed to pull 150kW out of its little 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and then get a Formula Ford fitted with said tiny mill to lap Nurburgring's Nordschliefe in seven minutes, 22 seconds must be a slap in the face for performance-chasers of old.

The fact that its time was quicker than some of the most desirable supercars and go-fast machines in the world has rewritten quite a few rules.

I, like many car lovers, scoffed at early hybrid efforts, derided what was then seen as greenie ranting about carbon costs and thought the only useful electric vehicle was a golf cart with a built-in beer fridge.

The environmental technologies that we once saw as a threat have actually given us something that we never believed they would.

While some of these tech tricks are being put into vehicles that can at best be described as soulless, the fact that some companies are making a concerted effort to deliver the power and performance that we want while pushing boundaries to make it cleaner for the environment is heartening.

I first came across EcoBoost in its 2-litre, four-cylinder form at a Falcon launch in Australia this year - and was surprised to hear myself saying I'd take the four over the traditional six in a heartbeat. The 'baby' version hasn't appeared here yet, but it's coming - probably in the little Fiesta and possibly in the Focus.

While the little engine that obviously can deservedly cleaned up the International Engine of the Year award, I'm more impressed by its efforts at Nurburgring. Fine, Formula Fords have extremely well-developed chassis, and the iron grip of a hormone-imbalanced schoolboy, and should be fast. But that is faster than a Nissan GT-R, which is no slouch either. Let's see what other performance gains the go-fast fans among us get as engineers play their cat-and-mouse games with carbon-shy regulators.

- NZ Herald

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