Ford Romania has a lot to celebrate this year as they just had their 1 millionth car roll off the assembly line at Ford’s Craiova assembly facility in Romania. This impressive production milestone is attributed to decades of constant production and continued investment in production facilities. To mark this impressive milestone Ford rally driver, Adrien Fourmaux, brought along his new M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 for some impressive stunt driving.
The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 is an important motorsport milestone for Ford as it represents the first use of electrification in a Ford motorsport entrant. The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 uses a traditional 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that is augmented by a 100kW electric motor. According to Ford, “The battery pack can be recharged using an external power source at the dedicated service points between stages, with a recharge taking approximately 25 minutes. Weighing 95 kg, the hybrid system is liquid- and air‑cooled and housed in a ballistic-strength casing to resist the impact of debris and g-forces in the event of an accident.”
The road-going Ford Puma that Ford builds in Romania also uses a turbocharged engine and hybrid system although not as powerful. Ford explains, “The road-going Ford Puma uses a 1.0-liter EcoBoost Hybrid powertrain 2 with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology to boost fuel efficiency and driving fun. A belt-driven integrated starter/generator recovers energy to charge a 48‑volt lithium-ion battery pack, and also acts as a motor, integrating with the engine to provide torque assistance that can help save fuel or enhance performance, depending on the driving scenario.”
This new use of hybrid tech to improve entrants in the World Rally Championship should produce an interesting new crop of hybrid hot hatches. As electric motors continue to improve and battery tech advances, we expect to see a huge leap in performance for sporty hybrids. Motorsports is the perfect proving ground for new tech like this and week look forward to seeing how Ford does in WRC with their M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1.