UK-designed engine wins top innovation prize

26 November 2013 #SMMT News

Hailed as the future of engine technology and designed, developed and engineered in Essex, Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – found under the bonnet of more than 100,000 cars across the UK – has been crowned winner of the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation 2013.

The efficient 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine, which uses a power-boosting turbocharger to deliver performance to beat that of a more conventional 1.6-litre unit, started life at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex. It fought off tough competition from across the dynamic UK automotive industry to win the prestigious accolade.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive and one of the Award judges, said, “The UK is a hotbed for global automotive engineering talent, a fact proved by the winning Ford entry being designed and developed at its Essex R&D centre and achieving global recognition.

“The outstanding calibre of the entrants to this year’s Award is testament to the wealth of design and engineering talent here in the UK. SMMT is working hard with its members and government to ensure the UK maintains and develops its reputation at the forefront of automotive innovation.”

Oxfordshire-based YASA Motors won the ‘highly commended’ accolade for its compact but powerful YASA-400 electric motor, which was a major feature in the Jaguar C-X75 supercar prototype.

The SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation – sponsored by GKN and supported by The Times – recognises the best of the UK’s flair for world-class design, R&D and engineering with previous winners including bus manufacturer Optare, as well as Jaguar Land Rover and Gordon Murray Design.

Remarkably, the Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is no bigger than a sheet of A4 paper, but delivers 123bhp, achieves 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km – around 20% better than more traditional motors. As well as powering the Formula Ford concept car, the engine is currently available in the firm’s Fiesta, Focus, B-MAX, C-MAX, Tourneo Connect and Transit Connect models, and will also feature in both the forthcoming EcoSport SUV and the next generation Mondeo in 2014.

The Award was presented to Ford’s Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Graham Hoare, by Nigel Stein, Chief Executive at GKN Driveline, at the 2013 SMMT Annual Dinner on 26 November. Commenting on the win, Mr Hoare said, “On behalf of the 1,000-plus highly-skilled Ford powertrain engineers involved in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost programme, we’re all delighted with this prestigious recognition.

“In 2007, the engineering teams at Dunton and Dagenham took on the challenge to produce a cutting-edge three-cylinder petrol engine – exciting, durable and efficient enough for both cars and commercial vehicles.  Six years on, and with over 300,000 global sales, two back-to-back International Engine of the Year titles, and now this major innovation award, we couldn’t be more proud.”

Nigel Stein, Chief Executive, GKN, said, “The efficiency and environmental performance of internal combustion engines has improved dramatically in recent years, and I am delighted that the panel has recognised Ford’s achievements in this area. This also signals the important role the UK automotive sector can play in developing future technology. Congratulations to everyone involved in this truly innovative project.”

The Award judging panel featured industry and engineering leaders: Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT; Dave Salt, Chief Engineer, GKN Driveline; Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times; Jim Higginbotham, Managing Director, Large Corporate and Special Asset Finance, Lombard and John Laughlin, Programme Manager – Low Carbon Vehicles, Technology Strategy Board.

To watch a video about the Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, or to find out more about the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation, visit

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