As usual, the main problem is the battery. According to Gioia, the extra cost of the lithium ion battery could be prohibitive unless additional tax credits are made available. A LiIon battery is a necessity in order to get sufficient range to justify the extra complexity of the plug-in architecture. Ford showed a plug-in series hybrid, the Airstream concept at the Detroit Auto Show although, unlike the Chevy Volt, it uses a hydrogen fuel cell instead of an internal combustion engine.
A Ford spokesman confirmed that Ford has been actively testing a variety of plug-in hybrid vehicles with different configurations and platforms for some time including the HyDrive system that underpins the Airstream concept. However, until a suitable battery can be found, Ford won't be committing to a production date or platform.
[Source: Automotive News - subscription required]