Want to add power to Ford’s all-new 5.0-liter V-8 for the 2011 F-150 without making a single hardware or software change? Just burn E85 ethanol fuel.
The 5.0 is rated at 360 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm) and 380 pounds-feet of torque (at 4,250 rpm) running on regular unleaded gasoline. It’s positioned as the midrange, high-volume engine choice for the F-150, below the more powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 (365 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque) and conventional large-displacement 6.2-liter V-8 (411 hp and 434 pounds-feet of torque).
But the 5.0 is also flex-fuel capable. Flexible-fuel vehicles are designed to run on gasoline or a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).
Burning E85 fuel boosts 5.0 engine power to 375 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque, said Mike Harrison, Ford’s program manager for V-8 engines.
Ethanol has a higher octane and heat-of-vaporization point than gasoline, meaning it combusts at a higher temperature and with greater force (higher compression) than gasoline, while also having a greater capacity to cool the fuel/air mix in the cylinder before combustion. This inherent efficiency is what enables the 5.0 to produce more power while burning E85 instead of regular unleaded fuel.
There’s a trade-off, though. Even though E85 combusts with greater force, it has less energy per gallon than regular unleaded gasoline, so fuel economy is worse when burning E85.
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