This week at the Automotive News World Congress, Ford's hybrid vehicle manager Nancy Gioia delivered an address where she indicated that Ford is seriously considering a production plug-in hybrid vehicle. The battery, of course, is the main hold up. Because of the added complexity of a PHEV, a strong, affordable, reliable battery is critical to getting enough battery range to make such a vehicle worthwhile. Gioia indicated that additional tax credits may be necessary for buyers to find such a vehicle economically viable.
Ford was no doubt spurred to make this statement concerning the future viability of a plug-in hybrid based on the warm reception of the Chevy Volt Concept at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. Ford was the first domestic automaker on the scene with a hybrid when it introduced the Ford Escape Hybrid a few years ago. Eager to maintain its image as the greenest automaker based in the U.S., announcing the potential for a plug-in hybrid puts it somewhat back on par with General Motors, though the General has actually produced the Volt Concept, which is much more production feasible with its E-Flex chassis than Ford's Airstream Concept.
[Source: Automotive News - Subscription required]