Mike Stevens | Jun 3, 2011

Hybrids, hydrogen and electric vehicles: most will tell you the future lies in alternative-energy powertrains.

But, ask Ford, it's not yet time for last rites for the petrol engine; with its EcoBoost engine range, Ford is chasing hybrid-like environmental performance from conventional petrol-driven powertrains.

This week, Ford has announced its smallest production engine yet, and its first ever three-cylinder: the turbocharged 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine, developed at Ford of Europe's Dunton Technical Centre in the UK.

Although power and performance figures have not yet been revealed, Ford Global Product Development boss Derrick Kuzak promises numbers on par with "most normally-aspirated 1.6 litre petrol engines."

“Consumers are telling us they want to buy affordable vehicles that get many more miles per gallon,” Kuzak said.

“Our new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine will give consumers looking for hybrid-like fuel economy a new, more affordable choice.”

The tiny engine's coming was first announced in April last year, when it featured as the powertrain for Ford's futuristic Start concept.

Ford will release full the full details at September's Frankfurt Motor Show.

A local debut for the new engine has yet to be announced, but with things heating up in the growing sub-light segment, the tiny 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine could be in Ford Australia's future.

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