EFP / Escort-Focus Performance

Home   Escort Parts   Focus Parts   Tech & Info   Ordering   Legal Info   Contact Us   Links

Ford Focus 2.3L PZEV


The 2003 Focus PZEV is a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle, meaning that in addition to meeting stringent super-low tailpipe emissions (SULEV), it has more than 100 new parts that virtually eliminate any fuel evaporation. The Focus PZEV is expected to reach approximately 35,000 units for the 2003 model year and be available in California, New York and Massachusetts. In 2004, it will ne available nationwide.

Major upgrades include a completely unique fuel system from the filler tube and gas tank through fuel lines and into the intake. The engine is a new 2.3-liter I-4 that produces more horsepower and torque than the current engine. The exhaust system, including the catalytic converter, is new and revised in size, loading and cell-density. The MTX75 transaxle has been upgraded with a new bell housing to meet torque requirements of 2.3L. The evaporative emissions system has revised canisters and purge valves to eliminate vapors, and is suppose to last for 15 years or 150,000 miles. There is a new steel fuel tank assembly with stainless steel filler tube, stainless steel fuel lines with doubleO-ring seals. The 2.3L I-4 has been modified for even lower oil consumption and zero evaporative emissions.

"The new Focus PZEV is a technological breakthrough that delivers real-world environmental benefits without a single compromise for its owners," says Dave Szczupak, Ford Motor Company vice president, Powertrain Operations. "This super-efficient engine meets California's stringent partial zero emissions standard while delivering lively performance from a larger-displacement powertrain with enhanced torque."The Focus PZEV is powered by an all-new Duratec 2.3-liter I-4 engine generating 148 horsepower and 152 foot-pounds of torque. This PZEV powertrain is the standard engine powering all California, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts Focus models beginning later in the first quarter of 2003. It will be available in all non-SVT Ford Focus models in the U.S. In 2005, the PZEV will be downsized to 2.0L's.

Ford Focus PZEV

Powerful and fun-to-drive PZEV Focus is as clean as an electric car and cleaner than many hybrid electric vehicles. The same clean-running Duratec 23E engine from the PZEV Focus is now available across the nation. It is due to be downsized to the Dutatec 20E in the 2005 model year.

Since the 1960s, California has pursued its own regulatory strategy to reduce air pollution from automobiles and other sources. In 1990, it adopted a requirement that automakers begin selling zero-emissions vehicles in large volumes by 1998. Under the rule, the seven largest auto manufacturers that sell vehicles in California must sell zero and near zero emissions vehicles in quantities that vary depending on a complex formula that takes into account market share, when the vehicles are sold and other factors. The origin of PZEVs lay in a compromise reached between regulators and automakers that recognized the fact that a battery-powered car truly isn't a "zero emissions" vehicle a power plant has to generate electricity to recharge the battery. It also was tacit recognition that consumer demand was very low for battery-powered vehicles, which have high costs, limited ranges and need to be plugged-in to recharge.

The new rules created PZEVs a class of vehicles that emit no more pollution than a power plant generates to recharge an electric car's battery. California now allows automakers who build PZEVs to reduce their obligation to sell battery-powered vehicles. The new rules also recognize the contributions that the burgeoning class of hybrid electric vehicles, like Ford's Escape Hybrid, will make toward cleaner air. Ford, the only U.S.-based automaker that did not sue California regulators to block the mandate, is meeting its commitment, in part, by selling the Focus PZEV and the Escape Hybrid, which goes on sale next summer. Ford also is using credits earned by selling Th!nk electric vehicles.

How Clean is a PZEV Focus?

To be certified as a PZEV, Focus had to meet three criteria:

* It had to meet the Super Ultra-low Emission Vehicle standard (SULEV).
* Engineers had to virtually eliminate fuel system evaporative emissions.
* The powertrain limited warranty had to ensure that these stringent criteria will be met for an extended lifetime of 15 years or 150,000 miles.

Compared to the nation-wide Tier I emissions standard, the SULEV standard requires 97 percent fewer hydrocarbon emissions, 76 percent less carbon monoxide and 97 percent less nitrogen oxide. In practical terms, a SULEV like the Focus PZEV emits only one pound of smog-forming pollution over 15,000 miles of driving. That's good enough to earn a perfect "10" on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Guide to Green Cars. By comparison, each Focus powered by a 2.0-liter Zetec four-cylinder engine itself a clean, efficient design emits up to 10.7 pounds of smog-forming pollution and a vehicle certified to the Tier 1 standard emits about 30.1 pounds over the same distance.

Outside of California, the Focus PZEV has slightly higher tailpipe emissions even though the car's electronics, powertrain and emissions equipment are identical because of the unique gasoline formulations used in that state.

The warranty also is different. All Ford vehicles sold outside of California and the states that have adopted California emissions rules carry a three-year or 36,000 mile emissions performance limited warranty and an eight-year or 80,000 mile limited warranty on major emissions system components. In addition to the California and Federal emissions warranties, all Focus models are sold with a no-charge five-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain extended service plan


At first glance, the Ford Focus PZEV, which combines gasoline-engine practicality with ultraclean tailpipe emissions, seems to be the gift that no one asked for. Car owners who care about their vehicles' evaporative emissions performance, or the rate at which catalytic converters heat up, seem few and far between.

But there is growing evidence that consumers will seek out environmentally responsible vehicles if they do not have to make a tradeoff in terms of lower performance or a higher price. Few people paid attention to fuel economy in 1987, when a survey by J.D. Power & Associates found that only 3 percent of consumers considered it the most important factor in buying a new car. But a survey this year by the same company indicated that gas mileage is now the top consideration of 15 percent of car shoppers, and the fifth-highest priority. Thus, the Focus PZEV - the label stands for "partial zero-emission vehicle," one of many mind-numbing categories established by clean-air regulators - has arrived at an opportune time. Although its mileage is not appreciably different from that of a regular Focus, its emissions are remarkably lower.

The Focus PZEV, with a special 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Duratec engine, produces just one-tenth of the smog-causing emissions that come from a Focus with the conventional 2-liter Zetec engine; the PZEV puts out just 1 pound of these emissions over 15,000 miles, using the low-sulfur gasoline sold in California, compared with 10.7 pounds for the regular Focus. (The difference with the expiring federal pollution standard, known as Tier I, is more stark: That rule permitted 30.1 pounds over the same distance.)

One might expect such clean-air gains to be accompanied by fireworks and confetti, but the clean Focus, like about a dozen other PZEV models, has slipped into the market as quietly as a secret agent on a Cold War rendezvous. While Ford has made its Focus available for test drives, the publicity departments at some other companies seem barely aware that they offer such cars.

Even environmental groups, focused on hydrogen fuel-cell and hybrid gas-electric technologies, seem only vaguely familiar with PZEVs. "What are they exactly?" asked the Washington-based press secretary for a group focused on clean energy.

This new Focus, like PZEVs from 11 other automakers, was designed to meet the strict new environmental rules in a handful of states, and they do so with mostly mundane, relatively low-cost modificiations to existing gas-engine technologies - like revised catalytic converters that heat up very quickly to cut the pollution produced by cold engines.

California regulators, trying to clean up some of the nation's worst air, have changed their rules under a compromise with the industry. Originally, the California Air Resources Board had ordered carmakers to produce zero-emission battery cars under a complex system of credits that is part of the state's low-emission program.  Tough revisions to those rules were adopted in 1999 to cover the 2004-2010 model years. As a result both of automaker lawsuits and the failure in the marketplace of plug-in battery vehicles like GM's EV-1, the California board allowed automakers to gain credits from low-emission gasoline cars.

Because four Northeast states follow California's rules, PZEVs are also sold in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine (with some spillover to nearby states).

Starting with 2003 models, the PZEV powertrain became standard on all Focus cars sold in California and the four Northeast states, except for the high-performance Focus SVT, and the package is available nationally on 2004 models as a $115 option.  Jim Cain, a Ford spokesman, said: "In California, we do market the environmental benefits very clearly. But Focus customers will get a PZEV no matter where the environment is on their concern list."

The potential benefits of PZEVs may be far more sweeping, at least in the short term, than the gains from hybrid cars. Tens of thousands of PZEVs are already on the road, at little or no cost premium beyond conventional gasoline versions of the same cars. New models are coming, and sales are expected to grow steadily. In contrast, only 100,000 hybrid cars have been sold in the United States since 1999, when the Honda Insight became first on the market.

Ford has sold 36,000 PZEVs and projects 100,000 sales through the 2004 model year. By contrast, U.S. sales of the Toyota Prius hybrid have totaled only 56,255 over three years, through Oct. 31.  And despite the publicity given to fuel-cell cars, practical versions remain a dream, given the challenges of creating a hydrogen infrastructure. Focus PZEVs start at a reasonable $13,915, including delivery charge. I tested a five-door ZX5 Premium, with a base price of $16,785 and a sticker total of $19,445. With a five-speed manual transmission, it had an economy rating of 25 mpg in town and 33 on the highway, roughly the same as the standard ZX5. The Prius hybrid, with more high-tech features and a combined mileage rating of 55 mpg, lists for $19,995, making it tough competition, although there are long waiting lists for the 2004 model.

If you are looking for a car that makes a public statement, the Focus PZEV is not for you. Unlike battery cars festooned with decals or the oddly futuristic-looking Insight, the compact Ford blends into the background. There is no clue, not even a discreet emblem, that car is far greener than the average Focus. Still, it is more fun to drive than the average econobox, especially with the five-speed manual transmission. The car requires no sacrifices. Its small but energetic engine produces 144 horsepower, compared with 130 in the basic Focus sold in 45 states. The PZEV is a tight, zippy car, the kind you'll enjoy throwing into curves a little faster than might seem prudent.

Weighing just 2,600 pounds and aerodynamically styled, the five-door hatchback is handsome in a modern way, but also practical: there is room for four, plus luggage, and great visibility all around.

Compared with the average 2003 automobile, the Focus PZEV produces 97 percent less hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions, and 76 percent less carbon monoxide. But not all environmentalists are convinced. "PZEVs certainly help improve air quality," said Bill Moore, editor of EV World, an online magazine about electric cars. "But they do zip for fuel efficiency or reducing oil imports." Nor do PZEVs reduce another type of emissions, the carbon dioxide produced by burning gasoline that is the primary greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.

Even if environmentalists are skeptical, and even though many consumers haven't a clue what PZEV stands for, the technology will soon be on cars across the nation, and it should have a profound and positive effect on air pollution. California rules say that 6 percent of carmakers' production should be PZEVs, and at the rate these cars are moving off dealer lots, that goal could be achieved.

"PZEVs are a fantastic outcome of the zero-emissions vehicle program," said David Friedman, research director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Click here to go to top

Home   Escort Parts   Focus Parts   Tech & Info   Ordering   Legal Info   Contact Us   Links