DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. is prepared to meet the looming U.S. 35-mpg (6.7 L/100-km) fleet fuel-economy requirement coming in 2020, a senior engineer says.

The auto maker has submitted its application to the government to tap into the $25 billion in federal funds set aside to assist in the development of advanced-propulsion technologies.

“Absolutely, we can meet the upcoming CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards, says Barb Samardzich, vice president-powertrain product development.

With the launch of Ford’s EcoBoost direct-injection turbocharged technology still months away from launch in a production vehicle, the auto maker is working to obtain more performance and fuel economy out of traditional internal combustion engines, Samardzich tells Ward’s at the North American International Auto Show here.

One promising technology is the stratified-charge configuration, which injects fuel at the top of the cylinder, for a more managed charge. “It enables even more fuel economy because you concentrate the fuel when you ignite it, so you can get an even more thorough combustion process,” she says.

“You’re running at real lean conditions, which are good from a consumption perspective. But at the tailpipe, you have more nitrous-oxide emissions that you’ll have to clean up.”

Aftermarket treatments or NOx traps are two technologies currently used to scrub clean the emissions from diesel engines.

While there is no timeline for Ford to introduce stratified-charge technology into its engine lineup, Samardzich says the first applications likely will occur in Europe.

“European standards for NOx are less restrictive than the U.S., so stratified charge will start in European market places.”

To help develop advanced ICE technologies, as well as hybrid- and full-electric powertrains, Ford has requested $8 billion from the $25 billion in federal funds made available under last year’s Energy Independence and Security Act, which stipulates the money must be used for “advanced vehicle technology.”

“In our submittal we list what our fuel-economy improvement will be from 2009-2012,” Samardzich says. “We plan to use (the loan) for a suite of technologies, such as EcoBoost, dry-clutch transmissions and, of course, battery vehicles and hybridization.”

bpope@wardsauto.com