During the Ford 2010 model preview in Dearborn this week, one of the efficiency improvements promised for the near term by Powertrain VP Barb Samardzich was increased hybrid applications. When we asked Fusion hybrid applications manager Gil Portalatin about potential future applications, it turned out that they won't debut until the next-gen hybrid system appears in 2012. At that point a production plug-in hybrid will be added as well. Of course, no one was interested in discussing the specifics of which platforms will be hybridized (as is all to often the case). Portalatin told ABG that Ford is not pursuing any mild hybrids but did acknowledge when asked about larger hybrid applications, "we're investigating those possibilities."

Another technology that is coming is automatic start-stop, which is sometimes labeled as a micro-hybrid in Europe as on the Smart ForTwo. Most of the start-stop systems used to date are based on a beefed integrated starter-generator similar to what General Motors used for its mild hybrid system. According to advanced powertrain engineering manager Brett Hinds, Ford will leverage its direct injected engines to provide a starter assist much like Mazda's Intelligent start stop. This uses a crank position sensor to stop the engine at a position where one piston is half-way down the power stroke. On re-start, fuel is sprayed into the cylinder and ignited to get the pistons moving, taking load off the standard starter. Ford labels the system assisted direct start. We likely won't see that system until about 2011.

[Source: Ford]

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