Ford and BP Pursue Bio-Fuel Solutions
– Ford Motor Company is stepping up its research and development of advanced and alternative powertrain systems to explore several alternative-fuel solutions. At the Washington Auto Show, Ford unveiled some of its alternative powertrain solutions, including a plug-in hybrid Edge, powered by the company’s industry-first HySeries that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with a hybrid-electric propulsion system.Ford also showcased its Escape Hybrid E-85, which combines hybrid technology with a flex-fuel vehicle; Ford will produce 20 for fleets in six different states. The company also has Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles and hydrogen internal combustion engines on the road, and the 2008 Super Duty features the new Powerstroke engine with new diesel technology. And Ford has committed to doubling the number of flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) in its lineup by 2010, and, if the market dictates, the company will commit to expanding its FFV output to 50 percent of its total vehicle production by 2012.Ford is among 70 companies, agriculture, and forestry groups endorsing a campaign dubbed "25x25," which advocates that one-quarter of energy in the U.S. comes from agricultural sources by 2025. Possible sources include bio-fuels like ethanol, bio-energy from processed animal manure and agricultural waste, and wind and solar power produced on agricultural lands. Currently, these sources account for less than four percent of the nation’s energy mix.Meanwhile, Ford is pushing the government to provide incentives for increased production and broader distribution of bio-fuels, and the creation of a long-term plan for cellulosic ethanol production from crops, such as switch grass and sugarcane. The manufacturer also maintains a partnership with VeraSun Energy Corporation to expand E-85 fuel availability along the Midwest Ethanol Corridor (I-55 in Illinois and I-70 between Chicago and Kansas City) for drivers of flexible-fuel vehicles. The petrol-to-ethanol pump conversions are expanding E-85 availability by approximately one-third in the two states. Ford also coordinated efforts with MFA Oil to boost E-85 use and awareness in Missouri by offering an E-85 reduced-price promotion at 32 stations earlier this year.Ford is focusing most of its powertrain development on improving the fuel efficiency of the traditional gas engine, while developing vehicles powered by fuel cell, hydrogen, bio-fuel, and hybrid electric technologies.