Most of us have heard the terms flex-fuel and Ecoboost but don’t really understand their meaning. Before you start investing in a vehicle, you must understand where you are investing. You must think, does it matter if you are buying Ecoboost or flex-fuel? And for that, you need to know what they mean and how do they differ? And that is what we are discussing in the article.
What is flex-fuel?
Flexible fuel or flex-fuel is an example of alternative fuel. This is a combination of ethanol or methanol and gasoline. Vehicles running on flex-fuel come with an internal combustion engine.
These engines are designed in a manner that they can run on more than one fuel. The design of flex-fuel vehicles is similar to gasoline-only models, apart from a few modifications.
These vehicles are not similar to bi-fuel vehicles that come with different tanks for different fuel tanks.
Advantages of Flex Fuel
Compared to gasoline, ethanol burns cleaner. It releases lesser toxic fumes and causes less pollution. Ethanol doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gasses, making it a popular alternative from an environmental point of view.
One big advantage of flex-fuel vehicles is the tax credit. It has replaced the burning deduction of clean fuel. This tax credit reduces or might eliminate the tax obligation of taxpayers.
Alternative to oil
Flex-fuel originates from sugarcane and corn and is used in flex-fuel vehicles. This acts as a great alternative to purchasing foreign oil.
This is considered the greatest advantage of flex-fuel. It burns the complete proportion of the mixture present in the combustion chamber. Fuel injection and timing are maintained by microprocessors while electronic sensors measure the blend.
Disadvantages of Flex Fuel
Though ethanol has its advantages, it also has certain disadvantages. This is because all the crops available for fuel production cannot be used for any other purpose. This results in increasing the prices of products such as animal feed that can be derived from the crops.
As ethanol absorbs quite easily, they are prone to damage the engines by causing corrosion.
Ethanol is not as readily available as gasoline, and it doesn’t provide the same level of fuel efficiency. People who supply ethanol are comparatively lesser in comparison to people who supply gasoline. So, the distance between flex-fuel stations is farther from one another.
What is Ecoboost?
Traditionally, gasoline mixes with incoming air that comes through the inlet port to burn fuel that makes the car run. This method works but doesn’t give precise fuel delivery.
Ecoboost combines turbocharging with direct fuel injection to improve fuel efficiency and does not compromise the engine power. These engines are produced by Ford and achieve 30% better fuel efficiency compared to other engines and emit 15% fewer greenhouse gases.
These engines are versatile and less costly. The manufacturers are increasing their use of diesel and hybrid engine technologies by further development. What does the ‘Boost’ in Ecoboost mean?
The turbocharger forces more than normal air to the engine. This added air mixes with the fuel to make the engine more powerful. And what does ‘Eco’ mean in Ecoboost?
Efficiency increases with the simplified injection process in the system. The direct injection is taken by the motor that cuts out the typical injection process of the fuel. Power gets added by the turbocharger without compromising on the gas mileage.
Advantages of Ecoboost
The Ecoboost features a nice 420 LB-FT of torque and 365 HP. This allows the vehicle to hit the high speeds and features the low end to pick up and go. The unmatched towing performance of the Ecoboost engine offers low-end torque at a low RPM range compared to other motors.
Value for money
One of the biggest advantages of Ecoboost is it does not come with a high price tag. This technology comes with standard equipment in several vehicles.
It is common for Ecoboost engines to carry out better power ratings compared to other engines of the same size.
Disadvantages of Ecoboost
Timing chain problems
The common symptoms that indicate timing chain-related are: drivability issues, DTC P0016 fault code, cold start rattle, and check engine light. A great contribution to the longevity of the engine is backing the suggestion of oil change intervals. In addition to this faulty timing chain, the exhausted oil can cause damage to the cam phasers, chain guides, and tensioners.
Another primary concern of Ecoboost carbon build-up. This is a common problem for all engines with direct fuel efficiency. The walls of intake ports and the backside of the intake valves often experience carbon build-up. It lacks natural cleaning and restricts airflow in the cylinders.
Flex Fuel vs Ecoboost
By now, it is clear that Flex-fuel engines and Ecoboost engines are completely two different things. The trade name for Ford’s turbocharged engine is Ecoboost, while flex-fuel comes with engines that can burn ethanol and gasoline.
If you are living near the farms, flex-fuel engines are a better choice for you. This is because farm areas tend to mix ethanol with gasoline.
Only flex-fuel engines can use this mixture because the fuel lines, wiring harness, and fuel sensors are tolerant towards it. If you are looking for a vehicle with great engine power and fuel efficiency, you should go for Ecoboost. These engines are a combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection.
Compared to other engines, they are less costly as well. Final Word Both the engines have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Before buying a vehicle, you need to consider different factors like where you stay, your requirements, and many more. Buy a vehicle only after doing proper research.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.