TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Phil Martens, Ford’s group vice president for product creation, said the company is strongly committed to hybrid vehicles and also endorsed combining hybrids with other advanced powertrain technologies, according to Automotive News.
He also said Ford would use hybrids to boost fuel economy rather than performance. “Hybrids generate terrific interest in the marketplace worldwide. Building hybrids also meets our internal mandate for sustainability,” he said. “Building hybrids is the right thing to do.” Ford’s coming Fusion hybrid will be a “second generation” hybrid. In the near term, he said, “We’d like a (hy-brid) powerpack system we could use in multiple vehicles around the world with Ford brands.” Martens predicted “an exploratory convergence of technologies” over the next five to seven years, which could combine, for instance, a diesel-electric hybrid with a turbocharger. With such a combination, he said, “you’re approaching what a fuel cell does at a fraction of the cost.” Alternatively, direct-injection gasoline engines, used in hybrids with turbochargers, could provide “similar fuel economy, performance and emissions as diesels,” he said. “But you can do it at lower cost.”