Ford to expand electric and hybrid offerings to Europe from 2011

Ford Transit Connect Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford has big plans for electrification of its fleet over the next decade, and while most of the emphasis has been on North America so far, Europe will be joining in on the party starting in 2011. Nancy Gioia has announced that between 2011 and 2013, Ford of Europe will get five new hybrid and battery electric models added to its lineup. About six to nine months after each of the new models rolls out in North America, they will be introduced in Europe.

Ford's first new battery-powered vehicle, the Transit Connect Electric goes on sale this fall in North America followed by a European launch in the middle of 2011. The battery powered van is just the beginning of Ford's global electrification plan. Read more about it after the jump.

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The Transit Connect is built at a Ford plant in Turkey, and EV models will be shipped to Detroit as gliders (sans powertrain). When they arrive here, Azure Dynamics will install the batteries, power electronics and electric drive system. Azure will be setting up a facility in Michigan to do the up-fitting.

It doesn't seem like it would make sense to ship TC gliders to the U.S., install the electric drive bits and then ship the finished vehicle back to the continent. Gioia told ABG that a final decision has not yet been made on how or where to install the TC's electric components for the European market.

Come 2012, Ford will add the new Focus Electric to the European lineup as well. Ford has developed the new C-segment platform to accommodate conventional internal combustion engines, hybrid drive and full battery electric powertrains. Like the Transit Connect, Ford has not announced where the Focus Electric would be sourced from for Europe. Because all of Ford's factories are using the same manufacturing processes, the European plants should be able to build the EV. North American market Focus Electrics will come from the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI.

The Focus Electric will use 23 kWh lithium ion battery pack, which should provide a nominal range of 100 miles.

Next-gen Ford Focus live unveiling – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford is already participating in an ultra-low carbon vehicle test program with prototype Focus electrics in the UK. Testing is now being expanded to the E-Mobility program in Cologne Germany. There the Focus will be joined by the full-size Transit van converted to electric drive by Smith Electric Vehicles.

Because both of Ford's current hybrid models, the Escape and Fusion (along with their Mercury siblings) have been based on North American models, they have not been available in Europe. That changes when the next generation hybrid system arrives in 2012. The first two non-plug-in variants to use the new hybrid system will be on the global C and C/D platforms. The C is of course the Focus, and we are expecting the replacements for the Escape and the current European market Kuga to be commonized and offered as hybrids.

The C/D platform will be the basis of the Fusion and Mondeo replacements, which will also be commonized. A plug-in hybrid will also be build at Michigan Assembly based on an as yet unannounced body style... maybe the Escape/Kuga. The plug-in and non-plug hybrids will debut in Europe in 2013.

In developing its next-generation hybrids as well as the battery electrics, Ford is targeting as much systems commonality as possible. For example, the plug and non-plug hybrids will use the same power-split transmissions and power electronics. Even the battery pack systems will be common with the same management system. Only the cells inside will be different with the plug-in using higher capacity lithium ion cells in place of nickel metal hydride. Ford already announced earlier this year that, like General Motors, it would bring its pack manufacturing in-house beginning in 2012, only relying on suppliers for the cells.

With the expansion of hybrid and electric vehicle availability, Ford is definitely planning on higher sales. How high those sales go is hard to predict. Gioia projected that various electrified vehicles will comprise from 10-25 percent of Ford's global sales by 2020. The wide range is due to a lot of unknowns regarding fuel prices, battery prices and incentives.

Among those electrified vehicles, Gioia expects about 70 percent to be non-plug hybrids, 20 percent plug-in hybrids and only five percent battery electrics with each of those possibly varying by plus or minus several percent. While Ford is working on battery electric vehicles, the automaker clearly isn't as bullish on the prospects as companies like Nissan-Renault or Mitsubishi. Ford is only projecting BEVs to comprise about 0.5-1.5 percent of total sales, nowhere near the 50 percent that some are hoping for.

Despite some pessimism on the commercial prospects, Ford is engineering all of its highest volume vehicles to allow them to be fitted with gas, diesel, HEV, PHEV or BEV powertrains. Similarly, the manufacturing processes are being developed to provide Ford the flexibility it will need to respond to market demands. Only time will tell how EVs ultimately succeed or fail. Either way, Ford expects internal combustion engines to remain part of the automotive landscape until at least mid-century.

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Ford commits to introduce five full-electric and hybrid models in Europe by 2013 as part of its global electric vehicles plan

To start, zero-emission Ford Transit Connect Electric to launch in 2011, followed by Focus Electric in 2012

Two new hybrid-electric models and a plug-in hybrid-electric model will follow in 2013

Collaborative efforts with governments and partners in European-based trial initiatives provide invaluable experience to help Ford bring full-electric vehicles to market

Geneva, March 2, 2010 – Ford Motor Company is confirming today that its global electric vehicles plan is extending to Europe with five full electric or hybrid vehicles across its C, CD and light commercial vehicle ranges coming for European customers by 2013.

Specifically, Ford will launch two zero-emission full battery-electric vehicles including the Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in 2011 followed by the Ford Focus Electric in 2012. Three other vehicles – two next-generation petrol hybrid-electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid – will be introduced in 2013.

Ford's global electrification strategy will deliver a suite of electrified vehicles to a variety of markets and build on the company's overall vision of offering the widest possible range of technology solutions – instead of a single vehicle or technology – to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions for customers around the world.

"We recognize that one technology does not work for all our customers," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Global Product Development. "Our electrification strategy and plans include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles to best meet our global customers' needs. Leveraging our global platforms is also central to this strategy and allows us to build on our strong product line-up in the most customer-driven, affordable way."

As Ford's global product vision accelerates to ensure that all the company's vehicles competing in global segments become common in Europe, North America and Asia, the resulting efficiencies will allow a global portfolio of environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be developed based around hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles.

"Our goal is to provide consumers with access to significant fuel economy improvements and reduced CO2 emissions to meet their functional needs and without compromising their driving experience," said John Fleming, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

"There is increasing interest among a number of customers in Europe for electrified vehicles and we are responding by stepping up our efforts to bring these models to the marketplace alongside our latest-generation, fuel-efficient petrol and diesel powered models," Fleming added. "This is further evidence of how the ONE Ford global product vision is transforming our business. European consumers will not have to wait too long before they can choose from a range of electrified alternatives from Ford."


The first models to be launched in Europe will be zero-emission, full-electric versions of two significant models in Ford's global product portfolio.

The Focus Electric will be based on Ford's next-generation Focus model and is one of at least ten vehicles that will be developed from the company's new global C-car platform. Focus Electric will be introduced in the US and Canada in 2011, followed by Europe in 2012.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric is a zero-emission, pure electric-powered version of the award-winning Transit Connect light commercial vehicle and goes on sale in North America later this year. Ford is aiming to make the Transit Connect Electric available for European customers from 2011.

Future Hybrids

While Ford has considerable experience in the North American market with full petrol-hybrid vehicles, the company also is planning to expand its presence in Europe with two all-new, next-generation hybrid passenger cars based on global platforms following in 2013.

In addition, European customers will be able to opt for a plug-in hybrid model, also coming in 2013.

"Thanks to the global economies of scale afforded to us by our ONE Ford initiative, I am delighted we are able to make the commitment now to deliver these models to customers in Europe, particularly as the demand for hybrid vehicles grows," added John Fleming.

Further details of Ford's hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will be revealed closer to launch.

Prototype Trials in Europe

Ford's Product Development team is participating in two specific European trial initiatives to demonstrate the technology in real world driving conditions, and generate feedback to help develop further the Focus Electric and the Transit Connect Electric for market acceptance in Europe.

In the UK, a consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Strathclyde University is preparing later this year to run a fleet of zero emissions prototype Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle prototypes, based around the current Focus model sold in Europe and using elements of the technology under development for the new Focus Electric.

The vehicles will be used for evaluation by both SSE and a number of fleet and private customers based in Hillingdon, Middlesex from mid-2010.

This new UK-based BEV demonstration fleet is being created partly with public funding from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes innovative industry-led projects that reduce CO2. The BEV research programme aims to test the technology's suitability and to gain greater insight into customer charging behaviour.

In Germany, Ford has recently announced its participation in the colognE-mobil project. This initiative will research the impact of electric vehicles on urban air quality, traffic safety and the electricity supply infrastructure. Scientists will then scale up the results to examine the true benefits an electric future could deliver for German cities.

Ford is one of four partners in the colognE-mobil project and will provide an early fleet of next-generation Focus Electric vehicles in late 2011.

The other partners are utility company RheinEnergie AG, the City of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen. The colognE-mobil project is partly funded by the German Government and coordinated by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

"These initiatives are a revolution for both the utility and automotive industries," Fleming said. "Collaborating across sectors is essential to ensure customer focused products that provide the right value along with the readiness of the infrastructure. We need to work and learn together and Ford is very pleased to be a part of these important trials."

Portfolio of Technologies

Ford Motor Company is committed to offering customers affordable environmental technologies in the vehicles they want and value.

To do this, Ford is introducing a range of global environmental technologies, including electrified vehicles that provide customers with more fuel-efficient models emitting fewer greenhouse gases without compromising safety, interior room or performance.

"Ford is focused on solutions that reach not just hundreds or thousands of cars, but millions of vehicles – because that is how Ford can truly make a difference," Derrick Kuzak said.

Near- and longer-term advancements include the new Ford EcoBoost global engine family featuring turbocharging and direct injection technology, Ford's ECOnetic range of low- CO2 technologies in Europe, and multi-speed transmissions such as Ford PowerShift.

Also, Ford is developing a range of other environmentally focused features, including advanced electric power steering, weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements, plus biofuel-capable vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

"Electrification is a key element in the effective use of Ford's global resources and talents to provide a portfolio of affordable and fuel-efficient technologies for customers," said Fleming. "In particular our fleet trials in the UK and Germany will give us vital experience and insight into how fleet and private customers for these niche models will use them on a daily basis. This will ensure that the five models we bring to market are fully developed to meet their expectations."

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