When Ford unveiled its Airstream concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January of this year it was largely overshadowed by the Chevrolet Volt. This was unfortunate for Ford because in many respects the two vehicles were very similar with both featuring plug-in series hybrid drivetrains. Aside from the fuel cell versus internal combustion engine range extenders there was one other very important difference to Ford's program: they actually had a true running prototype almost two months before they showed the concept.
For some reason they chose to hold back the public display of the Hyseries Drive Edge until later in January at the Washington DC auto show. By the time we got to drive the Edge in February it had already accumulated over 5,000 miles in regular driving, much of it on public roads. When we spoke to engineering manager Mujeeb Ijaz he told us one of the issues with the vehicle was the weight. The Edge is already hefty at over 4,300lbs and the modifications added 1,000 lbs to that. Ford was already hard at work on the second generation HySeries vehicle which would address the weight and it looks like they will be making changes like aluminum body panels and adjustments to the packaging all in the name of reducing fuel consumption, cost and mass.
With Ford's recent announcement of a partnership with Southern California Edison to test plug-in hybrids, Ford wants to apply the lessons they have already learned from the Edge to bringing plug-in hybrids to market. With all the work they've done it would be a shame if they don't manage to do it before their publicly stated goal of 2015.
[Source: Verdict on Cars]