DETROIT --- Ford Motor Co. has launched a plan to bring pure battery-electric vehicles, next-generation hybrids and a plug-in hybrid to market quickly and more affordably during the next four years.
"Ford is heading in the direction America and our customers want us to go, which is a green, high-tech and global future," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. "I think that is where society would like to see the entire industry go, and Ford is going to lead that charge."
To start, Ford will introduce in North America during the next four years:
-- A new battery electric commercial van in 2010
-- A new battery electric small car in 2011 to be developed jointly with Magna International
-- Next-generation hybrid vehicles, including a plug-in version by 2012.
"Next-generation hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-powered vehicles are the logical next steps in our pursuit of greater fuel economy and sustainability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of global product development. "A growing number of consumers want that kind of choice, and we want to be in a position to deliver it to them across multiple vehicle categories."
Ford said its use of global platforms showcases the company's ability to develop products with worldwide market opportunities in mind. "Around the world, we have become one Ford team, leveraging technologies and assets across markets and vehicle lines," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. "That is allowing us to deliver products our customers want and value even more quickly, including our progress with electric-powered vehicles."
Ford said it is partnering with high-tech companies to bring electric-powered vehicles to market quickly and affordably. Ford announced a new collaboration with Magna International to bring a new lithium ion battery-powered small car to market in North America in 2011. The new electric vehicle will have a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge, without using a single drop of gasoline.
"We strongly believe in collaboration because it drives innovation up and keeps costs down," said Don Walker, co-CEO of Magna International. "Bringing a fully functional electric vehicle quickly to market that meets customer expectations in terms of cost and performance is a great testament to both our companies' expertise and collaborative efforts."
Ford already has other collaborations and partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of electrified vehicles. Southern California Edison and the Electric Power Research Institute currently are road testing a fleet of Ford Escape Hybrid Plug-ins. Work with the utility industry partners is focused on understanding customer usage and the interconnectivity of vehicles with the electric grid.
Ford also has entered into a four-way "eco-partnership" in China to expand its global expertise with electric-powered vehicles. Ford, Changan Auto Group and the cities of Chongqing, China and Denver, Colo., are exploring ways to develop projects to help further energy security and promote economic and environmental sustainability. Areas of focus could include developing electrified vehicle technologies, green city planning, efficient urban transportation and grid integration.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $10 million grant to Ford's development of PHEVs. The DOE currently is road testing one of Ford's Escape Hybrid Plug-ins to support technological innovation related to the electrification of transportation.
In addition, in the U.K., Ford is collaborating with Tanfield, a leader in electric vehicles, to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the U.K. and European markets.
"Our focus is to provide fuel efficiency for millions of customers," said Kuzak. "Rather than low-volume niche vehicles or demonstration fleets, we are committed to developing advanced technology that is widely affordable and accessible."
Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine