's new Active Grille Shutter uses a variable shutter system to blank off the flow of air to the car’s cooling system, and when fully closed can reduce aerodynamic drag by up to six per cent.
Mounted in the grille aperture ahead of the radiator, Ford's Active Grille Shutter features motorised horizontal vanes which can rotate through 90 degrees to block the air flow.
Controlled by the car’s electronic control unit, the vanes can be rotated into 16 different positions – from fully closed to fully open – depending on the amount of cooling air required.
“The flow of air through the grille into the radiator creates a significant amount of drag, so it pays to minimise the flow as much as possible,” said Hans-Dieter Glueck, responsible for aerodynamics development, Ford of Europe.
“The Ford Active Grille Shutter system allows us to save fuel by optimising the aerodynamics through each journey. Blanking off the grille when the vehicle is cold also helps the engine warm up more quickly, which not only improves fuel economy but reduces exhaust emissions too.”
The control unit is programmed to optimise fuel efficiency, while at the same time delivering the necessary air flow to the cooling system.
When starting from cold, the vanes are kept closed as long as possible, so that the engine reaches its most efficient operating temperature more quickly. This benefits both fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, as well as ensuring that the vehicle cabin warms up sooner.
Engine operating temperatures are continually monitored to ensure that any specific driving conditions – including for instance high or low speed driving and towing – do not create undesirable temperature variations.
The new Ford Active Grille Shutter is standard on the new Ford Focus and an option with the 1.6- and 2.0-litre EcoBoost and 1.6- and 2.0-litre Duratorq engines on the Ford Mondeo, Galaxy and S-MAX.