Turbo-boosted engines becoming the norm at Ford and VW

Click to enlarge2014 Ford Fiesta Turbo ST

Despite the hiccups associated with any technology, the U.S. automaker Ford says it can see a day when all vehicles are either hybrids, electrics or powered by turbocharged engines.

Ford produced its 2 millionth EcoBoost engine Tuesday and said it plans to add to its lineup of five turbocharged powerplants, ranging from a 3.5 liter V6 to a tiny 1 liter three-cylinder engine, and may include a smaller EcoBoost V6 for the next F-150 pickup…

“Five is not the end of the road,” said Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj. He said EcoBoost technology would help the automaker meet the federal mileage requirement of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

It was a “big risk for us as a company to go from a big V8 to a V6. We knew on paper it would be great, but until you launch and see consumers vote, you don’t know if the strategy will work,” he said Monday at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich.

About 20 percent of all new Fords have direct fuel injection EcoBoost engines, which generate the power of a larger conventional internal combustion engine via turbocharging and software while delivering improved fuel economy.

Although an EcoBoost engine is more expensive than a conventional gasoline engine it recoups the additional cost in fuel savings four times faster than a diesel engine…

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The Volkswagen Amorak pickup truck goes military

The Amarok is a small Volkswagen pickup truck sold in Europe, Australia and other markets around the world. Rheinmetall Defence, the German military outfitter behind the Amarok M, says that the upgraded truck is built for on- and off-road mobility, flexibility and reliability, with an underlying focus on special operations. The model is equipped with all-wheel drive, an off-road anti-blocking system, choice of diesel or gasoline engine, and eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. It packs up to 180 hp and is capable of speeds up to 111 mph.

Rheinmetall says the Amarok M can carry a payload up to 1.5 tons and can be outfitted with specific kits to support different types of missions. It can transport up to four fully-equipped soldiers and offers room for stowing equipment. Other military-spec equipment includes rifle racks, a radio communications system and an electrically powered ring mount for affixing a machine gun or grenade launcher.

In short, Rheinmetall’s conversion transforms a rather meek small pickup truck into a fearsome machine of destruction and conquest. The company envisions the light-duty truck being used as anything from a military police patrol truck to a command and communications vehicle.

Rheinmetall introduced the Amarok M at the Eurosatory show in Paris this week.

I look forward to seeing the first Taliban conversions showing up in the news. Will they succeed in replacing Toyota HiLux as the terrorist vehicle of choice?

Coppers shoot man with Taser – he bursts into flames

Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan says the Taser was the best choice

A man in Western Australia was engulfed in flames when police officers fired a Taser stun gun at him.

Police say they used the Taser on Ronald Mitchell, 36, when he ran at them carrying a container of petrol and a cigarette lighter.

They said that Mr Mitchell, who lives in a remote Aboriginal community, had been sniffing petrol. They suggested the cigarette lighter started the fire.

Mr Mitchell is in a critical condition in hospital with third degree burns.

The Police Commissioner told reporters: “The only other choice they would have had is to use a police-issue firearm, and the consequences would almost certainly have been far more grave.”

I hadn’t realized that police departments are down to only two choices when it comes to conflict with a suspect: taser – or shoot ’em?