Ford’s easy fuel system simplifies fill ups, helps environment with clever, capless design
Ford is helping thousands of customers save time and keep their hands clean at the fuel pump.The Easy Fuel™ capless fuel-filler system is a Ford-exclusive feature that uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap. That means no more fumbling to remove and tighten the cap and less fuel odor on customers' hands or gloves when they're at the pump.
These are just two of the reasons behind Ford's decision to offer Easy Fuel as standard equipment across the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury product lineups, according to Pamela Wylie, Ford technology planning manager. Easy Fuel launched on the 2008 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer and will be joined by the all-new 2009 Ford Flex, Ford F-150 and Lincoln MKS this summer.
"Easy Fuel was a very popular feature in our customer research among all vehicle segments," said Wylie. "When we considered the value this innovation added to our vehicles for our customers, it made business sense to implement it across our product lines."
When Ford measured customer response to the Easy Fuel system in focus group studies, 75 percent of women and 67 percent of men expressed a particularly high interest regardless of demographic or vehicle segment. "People noted that it was very useful and a time saver and considered the fact that their hands didn't get dirty to be a major attraction," said Wylie.
According to Annette Huebner, a Ford product planning analyst, Easy Fuel has produced several unexpected benefits that customers are sure to appreciate. "With Easy Fuel, you don't have to worry about that dangling gas cap scratching your vehicle's paint anymore," she noted. In addition, customers who have arthritis or other flexibility issues don't have to struggle to open or tighten a cap every time they're at the pump.
With Easy Fuel, the spring-loaded flapper door is held closed by two latches that can only be released by a standard-size unleaded fuel nozzle. When the proper nozzle is inserted into the filler neck of the system, the latches release, and the nozzle pushes the spring-loaded flapper door to the open position. When the nozzle is removed, the flapper door automatically is forced closed by the spring.
The fuel filler pipe is then completely sealed, which prevents fuel vapors from escaping and helps reduce evaporative emissions.
"Every time a fuel cap is either lost or not screwed on properly, that equates to evaporative emissions entering the environment," said Brian Aitken, a Ford fuel systems supervisor. "With Easy Fuel, these scenarios are no longer a problem."
Easy Fuel also has a patented mis-fueling inhibitor to reduce improper fueling and siphoning.
The inhibitor consists of a fuel nozzle detector that guides the nozzle to the opening. If a nozzle or foreign tube of a different size – a diesel nozzle or plastic hose, for example – is placed in the filler neck of a gasoline-powered vehicle, the latches will not release. For a diesel-powered vehicle, the inhibitor will keep out the smaller gasoline nozzles.
To protect the fuel filler neck from dirt, dust and debris, Easy Fuel relies on a flexible rubber seal in the body housing. The system also comes with a handy plastic funnel, which is stored with a vehicle's tire changing kit, in case someone runs out of fuel and needs to add a gallon or two from a portable container.
"Because fuel cans are not standardized in terms of their nozzle, we needed to make sure customers could easily get fuel into the system if they ran out," said Aitken. The funnel is the same diameter as an unleaded fuel pump nozzle for a gasoline-powered vehicle.
- The Easy Fuel™ capless fuel-filler system has an integrated spring-loaded flapper door that allows customers to simply insert the fuel nozzle into the tank to fill up – no screw cap is required.
- Easy Fuel automatically seals after the fuel nozzle is removed – no waiting for customers to re-secure the cap – emitting fewer evaporative emissions into the environment.
- According to Ford focus group studies, 75 percent of women and 67 percent of men expressed a particularly high interest in Easy Fuel regardless of demographic or vehicle segment.
- Easy Fuel was introduced on the 2008 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, and will be offered as standard equipment on the all-new 2009 Ford F-150, Ford Flex and Lincoln MKS.
- Ford will migrate Easy Fuel as standard across the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury passenger vehicle lineups during the next five years.