An Engine in a Suitcase, Or an Electric Car?

2013 Ford Fiesta

2013 Ford Fiesta

In my book, many interesting conversations can be had using the words “turbochargers” and “superchargers.”

In a conversation with a friend this weekend, though, my mention of the words were met with a blank stare. I guess not everyone is into cars or even terribly knowledgeable about what makes them tick.

Our talk began with a question. My friend asked, “What do you think of electric cars?”

Well, that’s quite the can o’ worms in my world, and talking through the answer took the better part of the next 30 minutes. We discussed everything from the environmental impact of battery manufacturing to electricity production to supporting infrastructure to the mechanics of how superchargers and turbochargers work in gas and diesel engines. Of course, my bottom-line answer to her question was this: Electrics have the right idea in saving fuel, I’m just not convinced of their execution. I’d prefer to go with an economical turbo gas or diesel vehicle.

Like maybe the 2014 Ford Fiesta, with a 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder.

Just to get an idea of how small Ford’s 1.0-liter engine is, check out the picture sent in to Autoblog below showing the engine packed in someone’s luggage on the way from Detroit to the L.A. Auto Show. Not just any luggage… a standard carry-on bag. This is the engine everyone presumes is destined for the U.S. via the 2014 Fiesta. In the European Ford Focus, this engine makes 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque.

Ford's 1-liter Ecoboost in a suitcase

Powering the smaller Fiesta, I’d hope to see mileage numbers somewhere around 40, but that’s pure speculation on my part. No official numbers have been released, nor has U.S. pricing. It makes sense to reason that the price will come in somewhere in the very low 20s, maybe even the teens, making the Fiesta a compelling and economical fuel-saver when compared to an EV or hybrid.

On top of initial cost, a gas or diesel vehicle will come with less-costly repairs and absolutely no risk of an expensive battery replacement sometime down the road. A road, incidentally, that can be travelled mile after worry-free mile without running out of places to refuel.

By the end of the conversation with my friend, I think I made my point about the value of an economical internal combustion engine compared with an EV. It’s then that I learned what car she currently drives, which fellow CarGurus might also find ironic: a Geo Metro.

What’s your preference, gas, diesel, hybrid or electric?


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  1. That really puts into perspective how small motors are getting. Wow. Looks like a hobby store buy!

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