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Ford is betting that efficiency will be paramount in the long term. The new Fusion Hybrid? That's the tip of the iceberg. Today in Cobo Arena, the Ford execu-quartet of product chief Derrick Kuzak, CEO Alan Mulally, President of the Americas Mark Fields, and Bill Ford presented the green roadmap that the Blue Oval plans to follow into the future.

EcoBoost was the lead-in, with Kuzak driving onstage in the EcoBoosted Ford Flex, whicih bumps out 350 horsepower while delivering fuel economy to the normally-aspirated V6. This, you knew. He then went on to announce that by 2013, EcoBoost engines will be available in 90% of Ford nameplates. That announcement was followed by another, which stated that the company's fuel-stingy inline-4 will ultimately be offered in every car and crossover in the product lineup.

Then Bill Ford segued into the the Blue Oval's new EV strategy, and stuff got even more interesting... Follow the jump to find out about Ford's electrification plans.

It's like this. Ford wants you to be driving some type of electrified vehicle, and its lineup is being reworked to reflect this. Bill Ford stressed that the EV strategy in Dearborn is not just a test program; it's a business plan. (Wave "hi" to President-elect Obama, Bill.) The comprehensive approach is set to tackle the three not-insignificant issues (or obstacles, really) that presently keep electric vehicles from being acceptable and feasible on a large scale: batteries, standards, and infrastructure with the help of suppliers, municipalities, and the federal government. Ford wants policy changes that will speed the broad acceptance of electric vehicles. And the vehicles are in the pipeline.

In addition to standard hybrids, Ford will integrate plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles that all leverage lithium-ion battery technology. The EVs will be based on the platforms underpinning Fusion and the new, global Focus. A commercial-use battery-electric vehicle (BEV) will be introduced in 2010, followed in 2011 by a BEV small car.

Ford's electric car will be targeted specifically at consumers, and built in partnership with Magna. The goals that have been set are a 100-mile operating range on a full lithium-ion battery charge. The car will initially be produced in volumes between 5,000 and 10,000 units annually, with a focus on urban markets. If it takes off, they'll ramp things up. This is where the infrastructure changes become critical, and shows why they're such a giant stumbling block to broad EV acceptance. While urban use may be ideal from a driving standpoint, it's a complete nightmare from a parking/charging one. Ask, say, a Manhattanite where they might park, let alone park and plug in, their theoretical EV, and they will fall down laughing.

In 2010, we should see the next generation of Ford's hybrids hitting the scene. They'll come in standard and plug-in varieties, and should blend very high efficiency with appealing dynamics. That's if the wish list all comes true. Time will tell if this master plan has a real chance at success. In the meantime, Ford also made sure they addressed the present day, where we currently enjoy cheap gas. In fact, as the green dog and pony show wound down, a decidedly un-green rumble could be heard kicking up backstage...



Ford announces aggressive new electric vehicle plan to bring pure battery-powered vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles to market
To start, Ford will introduce in North America:
  • 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 in 2012
These vehicles pave the way for additional applications in the future, using Ford's high-volume global small car and midsize car platforms
Ford is partnering with high-tech partners to bring electric-powered vehicles to market quickly and more affordably
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2009 – Ford Motor Company today launched an aggressive 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.

The plan, unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, signals the next phase in Ford's commitment to deliver the best or among the best fuel efficiency with every new vehicle it introduces and to make fuel efficiency solutions affordable for millions of customers.

"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
These new vehicles pave the way for additional applications in the future, using Ford's high-volume global small car and midsize car platforms.

"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."

The use of global platforms showcases Ford's ability to develop products with worldwide market opportunities in mind. Powering the company's electrification drive is the company's "One Ford" global product vision.

"Around the world, we have become one Ford team, leveraging technologies and assets across markets and vehicle lines," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and chief executive officer. "That is allowing us to deliver products our customers want and value even more quickly, including our progress with electric-powered vehicles."

Partners Enable Speed to Market
Ford is partnering with high-tech partners to bring electric-powered vehicles to market quickly and affordably. Today, the company 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 UK, Ford is collaborating with Tanfield, the market leader for electric vehicles, to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the UK and European markets.

Ford's aggressive new electrification plan represents the next step in the company's sustainability plan. Unveiled in 2007, the plan includes a commitment to greater vehicle fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions as part of Ford's longer-term commitment to addressing climate change and energy security.

"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."

Near-term elements of Ford's sustainability plan include improving today's gasoline engines to make them more fuel efficient with reduced emissions. Recent accomplishments include:

  • The Ford Fusion is now America's most fuel efficient mid-size sedan for both hybrid and conventional gasoline models
  • The four-cylinder Ford Fusion S is now certified at 34 mpg highway and 23 mpg in the city, topping the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord
  • The new Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrids deliver up to 41 miles per gallon in the city – eight miles per gallon better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid. In addition, the base Fusion with its 4-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission is EPA certified with best-in-class fuel economy of 34 mpg on the highway
  • The Ford Focus with its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission delivers 35 mpg on the highway, 5 mpg better than Toyota Corolla's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and 2 mpg better than Honda Fit's 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, both also with manual transmissions
  • The all-new 2009 Ford F-150 – which is Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year – achieves 3 mpg more than the Toyota Tundra pickup on the highway and 1 mpg better in the city with its 4.6-liter V-8 engine, compared to Toyota's 4.7-liter V-8. The F-150's larger 5.4-liter V-8 achieves 2 mpg better on the highway than the facing Tundra engine
  • The 2009 Ford Escape with its new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission achieves 28 mpg on the highway, the same as Toyota's RAV4 and 1 mpg better than the Honda CR-V, both with 4-cylinder engines, too
  • The Ford Expedition achieves 20 mpg on the highway, beating both of the Toyota Sequoia's V-8 engines by as much as 3 mpg on the highway
  • The Ford Flex is the most fuel-efficient standard seven-passenger vehicle on the market
This year, Ford also will introduce its EcoBoost engines on the Ford Flex crossover and Lincoln MKS sedan.

The direct-injection turbocharged EcoBoost technology allows for fuel economy improvements of up to 20 percent and CO2 reductions of up to 15 percent versus larger displacement engines – while improving performance. On the Flex and the Lincoln MKS, EcoBoost will provide V-8 performance with V-6 engine fuel efficiency.

By 2013, Ford expects annual EcoBoost engine volumes to top 750,000 in North America.

Also this year, Ford is doubling its production and offerings of hybrid vehicles with the new Fusion and Milan hybrids. During the past five years, Ford has sold nearly 100,000 hybrid vehicles, starting with the introduction of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid, the most fuel efficient SUVs in the world.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why doesn't Detroit try a "novel idea". Try asking the public(the people who buy their product) what THEY want in a vehicle instead of allowing some high tech geek engineer guess? How about a survey 30-60 days after a purchase from the buyers to improve on the product???? I have not bought a new car since 1984 and this is the prime reason.... Example: Not everyone wants electric motor congtrolled windows as they are a pain ( and expensive) to fix when they go out. Instead allow the consumer the option of old fashioned roll-ups.... Maybe,just maybe, when the automakers decide that the publics opinions are relevant they may see people return to the showrooms.....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Have you been living in a bunker for the last 25 years? The manufacturers always send me surveys 30-60 days after I buy a new car. They have been doing this since the mid 90's. Also by eliminating hand cranks on the windows this minimizes tooling costs and they pass the savings onto you by including electric windows (win-win). Chances are the window regulators and switches will last the life of the car. I know someone with a car from the 80's and their electric windows work OK, so relax and welcome to the 21st century!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Like they did when the public said that they don't want a fourth door on the Windstar, which set Ford behind by almost a product generation? Or when they voted with their dollars for large SUVs, which almost killed them when gas skyrocketed? The public isn't exactly the authoritative source of success either. Mostly, we know what we like when we see it. It's up to the company to innovate and make a profit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i am not a big fan of domestic's, but that quickly changed after the camaro, the fiesta, the spark/beat, and now this. i like where the auto industry is going.
      • 6 Years Ago
      very cool, esp the announcement of their frugal four in damn near everything - they've been doing it in Europe for years, it's refreshing to see Ford continue to apply what they learned across the pond here (finally).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Manhattanites don't drive, Alex...

      I figured Ford had further green plans up their sleeve. The Fusion Hybrid is too good to be an anomaly. That said, I'm still waiting for someone besides Honda to show commitment to *sporty* affordable hybrids/electrics, like the CR-Z.

      I'll keep telling myself the segment will diversify as it grows.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea. No one in NYC drives. There is too much traffic...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Cool. Love turbo 6's. And good for ford making alternatives part of the business strategy instead of just coming out with some underpowered premium price celebrity cruiser. Maybe they will survive afterall.