• May 1st 2006 at 6:59AM
  • 17
Buried within a GreenCarCongress article on Ford’s attendance at the recent Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability conference are some comments made by Niel Golightly, Ford’s Director of Sustainable Business Strategies, about plug-in hybrids. Golightly admits that Ford is investigating the technology that allows hybrids to achieve even greater fuel economy, but cautions there are three obstacles that must be overcome before it could see production: battery life, warranty coverage and safety.
A Ford representative, however, revealed to GreenCarCongress that “the message [about plug-in hybrids] is coming through loud and clear.” When asked about plug-in hybrid conversions being performed on Escape Hybrids by HyMotion, the representative stated “we encourage our customers to be creative with our cars.”

Is there a skunk-works plug-in hybrid program operating over at Ford? Perhaps. Toyota has aleady publicly stated that a plug-in Prius will not happen, which leaves the door open for Ford to swoop in and steal some of the green limelight.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Everybody's ragging on this! You can't deny that this is development for the better. #4 definitely doesn't understand this concept for one thing... A plug in hybrid isn't any less versatile than a regular hybrid, you still have a gas tank and a gas engine, its just that instead of all the energy in your battery coming from burning the gas in the tank, you can charge it up from a wall plug too. I think plug-ins only really show their benefits if you give a good boost to the battery capacity though, and i think that's part of the deal, that's what they're working on.

      People have brought up the one good point though, and that's the source of the energy coming through that plug. In a lot of places, ya, it comes from a dirty source, coal fire or whatever. I don't know for sure, but I agree with #7 in that its a lot easier to control the pollution coming out of one central location, rather than trying to cram all this pollution treatment stuff onto each car. I'm willing to bet that a modern coal fire plant at this point produces less pollution per unit of energy than a car. And also... there are many parts of the world that have moved on to clean sources of electricity, and the rest of the world will hopefully catch up soon. I'm from Montreal, pretty much all our electricity comes from Hydro. Ya that fucks a lot of shit up when you set it up the first time, but the damage has been done and we know have a completely sustainable, unpolluting source of electricity, and every mile travelled on 100% electric in a plug in hybrid would be completely pollution free, until of course you use up all the energy you got from the wall after a long trip.
      I've always felt plug in hybrids would provide a completely seamless transition to 100% electric vehicles without gas engines at all. You get a plug in escape that can do 50 miles without the engine now, don't need a change of infrastructure at all, except maybe, you're right, especially in California... gotta beef up the power grid. But this can be done gradually. Soon, the battery technology will improve, increasing that range, maybe eventually to the point that you could go 300 miles without turning on the engine, and it'll eventually get to the point where you have to ask if you need that engine at all anymore. Ya, of course now you've got the whole population eventually getting all their transportation energy needs from the electricity grid. But like i said, we could gradually beef up that system. A hydrogen powered economy would require a completely new infrastructure to be installed.
      100% electric car would be just as clean as a hydrogen powered car, since they both get their energy in the end from power plants. The only difference would be long term disposability. From what i've heard, lithium ion batteries (which are really the way to go at this point) really aren't that bad at all in the long run, you can recycle a lot of them. I'm not sure what's involved with a hydrogen fuel cell in terms of disposal once its dead... i don't really know what goes into a proton exchange membrane.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Should the engineers have located the plug in a place on the vehicle where it is least subject to damage? it should make for very expensive fender-bender repairs.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I would bet the issue is more about liabilities. Have someone else do it.

      Issues like how to have a safe disconnect when there are fuel vapors present. How to address what will happen if they leave it plugged in and drive off. How to handle outdoor power for those without garages.

      A cheap trickle charger ain't going to cut it, but at over $8000.00 that's crazy. I know I could design a low cost interconnect system.



      • 9 Years Ago
      I am confused as to the advantages of being able to plug the car in. I guess you could store more electricity, but if you have a commute that necessitates getting up to highway speed it seems like you are likely to tap the conventional gas engine regardless. Couple that with the fact that electricity from the grid does not come out of thin air - it is likely produced by a fossil fuel burning plant.
      • 9 Years Ago
      One thing not yet mentioned is that the plug in hybrids can be configured to be used during the day to help out the power generation by supplying energy to the grid during peak hours.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Why would you want a plug in and limit the usefulness of your vehicle or risk getting caught with a low battery??
      • 9 Years Ago
      What's the point of starting a 'Green' blog if you still put all the hybrid news here?
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'm guessing that high cost of home electricity is still cheaper than the high costs of gasoline?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Places like California already have electricity generation problems. Can you imagine a significant number of people plugging in their vehicles to California's borderline utility system during the summer?
      • 9 Years Ago
      For people wanting to know what the advantage of plugs-in is: it's solar! In the long-run, the most efficient way to generate power for your car is through solar panels. I love the idea of being able to plug directly into the sun, without a middle man, but the truth is, we'll need "the grid" to move energy around efficiently. This would go a long way toward offsetting worldwide energy demand.
      • 9 Years Ago
      John,

      Don't know if you knew this, but Saab's Biopower Hybrid convertible at the Stockholm Car Show last month was a plug-in. GM ordered that Saab pull the press release at the last minute and the plug-in functionality was never mentioned, but it was there. The plug was behind the badge, which was glued shut for the show.

      The original story about this was covered in Swedish paper, Aftonbladet. I covered it here:

      http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2006/04/did_gm_screw_sa.html

      What's more, some publications actually received the original press release, which noted the plug-in functionality and they printed it online. I've got a screendump of one there here:

      http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2006/04/the_smoking_gun.html

      If you Google the appropriate phrases in the press release, you'll see that other services used it too.

      My info is that the order to pull the plug on the release (pardon the pun) was from amongst the highest ranks of GM.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Agree with #5. They have to make the process completely idiot proof. There are too many things that could go wrong. Perhaps it decreases the life of the battery as well.
    • Load More Comments