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Ford tried to get a boost in the green auto sphere with its big plug-in hybrid announcement yesterday. But for a lot of people, the announced 20-test-vehicles-by-2009 routine is too little, too late. With the speed that competitors like GM and smaller automakers like Tesla are moving, I don't think Ford CEO Alan Mulally did his company any favors when he said yesterday that PHEVs are five to ten years away.

It's not that I'd be against having Ford plug-in hybrids in the showroom in 2012, but we all know that another company will beat Ford in the plug-in game by that time, especially if 2012 becomes 2017. Everyone mentions the need for better lithium-ion batteries, and Mulally is no exception. If Ford wants to compete in the plug-in race (and their modest tests make it seem like that's a big if), perhaps they should reserve a bit of their publicity muscle for the upcoming announcement of who will make the batteries for the Southern California Edison test PHEVs.

[Source: Reuters / Bernie Woodall]


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  • 7 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      The "5-10 years" comment from Mulally seems to me to be more a CYA statement than anything else. Ford has already made the Hy-Series Edge, albeit a Fuel Cell PHEV, it is still a PHEV, and their answer to the E-Flex architecture from GM. With that said, I don't really suspect it would take them 10 years to produce a PHEV. Ford doesn't appear to be leading in this field, however looking at the Hy-Series Edge as proof, I don't think they are as far behind as they are perhaps leading people to believe either. A wise thing for anyone to remember in any business, is always, always, always under-promise, and over-deliver.

      With that said, by the way Murc, where can you buy a PHEV today? Do you know of a mass-market PHEV that the rest of us don't?
      • 8 Years Ago
      5-10 years away. Everything always seems to be 5-10 years away.

      The EV1, which came out almost 10 years ago was a full blown plug in electric. That was 10 years ago.

      The Auto industry really is pitiful.
      compy386
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mulally is just being realistic. It's not the auto industry's fault. The reality is that the battery technology is just not up to it. Nimh batteries don't have the energy density or the life span to support plug in hybrids. Nimh batteries can only be discharged from full to about 20% 1,000 times (after about 600 the battery will become fairly useless). With a plug in hybrid, that's about 3 years of life for the battery. Does anyone honestly think that people will pay $10,000 every 3 years to replace the battery. Plus what are the environmental impacts of throwing away all these batteries? Normal hybrids never have to come close to a full discharge. In fact many never use more than 20% of the battery capacity. This makes it possibly for hybrids to go through 5000-6000 discharge cycles before the battery has to replaced. This gives most hybrids a 10 year replacement life instead of just 3. Lithium ion batteries have a similar problem because they lose a good chunk of their charge due to time alone. Check out www.batteryuniversity.com and see their take on hybrids. Very informative.
      • 8 Years Ago
      They can build one today.

      Who's willing to pay $100,000 for one?
      • 8 Years Ago
      huh...I can go to a dealership today and buy a plug in hybrid...why the hell would it take Ford a decade to build them!?

      I agree with the comment "lead, follow, or get out of the way".
      I have no problem with Ford...but they need to start taking people seriously...we want more efficients cars, preferably all electric so we stop funding enemy countries weapons build ups.
      • 8 Years Ago
      They will use quotes like this GM saves itself in the nick of time with E-flex and Ford goes bankrupt.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Ford has been a follower since Henry died and left the leadership to less courageous, less hungry and more comfortable girly men.