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Green

Part of Beijing's big push to cut its heavy air pollution.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. said it will launch a plug-in hybrid car in China in 2018 and a fully electric sport-utility vehicle in the next five years, as it works toward electrifying most of its lineup in the world's biggest auto market by 2025. This comes at a time when Beijing is urging automakers to sell more electric vehicles, laying out strict fuel economy targets and subsidizing certain new energy vehicle models, in a bid to cut air pollution and promote technological innovation.

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Blue Oval Chief Says Best-Selling Truck's Electrification Is Key To Getting Greener

Fields acknowledges recent stall in US hybrid-sales growth.

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The lighter, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 gets (at best) 26 miles per gallon. That's not bad for a truck that size – and we should always remember that improving gas guzzlers can make a big difference – but what if the popular truck came with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain? How efficient would that be? We heard Ford talking about such a vehicle last year, and now we learn that Ford is still "working very hard" to make a F-150 hybrid happen.

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Everyone likes to go after the champ. When it comes to fuel economy, that means taking on the Prius, which is something that automakers not named Toyota have been trying to do for years. Just because no one has been able to beat the Prius for fuel economy numbers isn't stopping them from trying. Hyundai was just caught with a potential Prius-fighter and now we have news that Ford is joining the party. Well, is going to join again.

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What used to take Ford a year now takes less than five months. The automaker continues to expand its stable of hybrid-electric and plug-in vehicle models, and that's one reason why the company is about to pass its previous annual hybrid-sales record this month, Bloomberg News says.

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Demand for the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is strong enough that Ford will change the production mix from 20 percent to 30 percent hybrids for the 2014 model year.

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Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you'll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a new partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The "equal partners" deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready "later this decade" – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. just announced.

Breaking

Is the Prius V not big enough for you? Then you'll probably be interested to learn that Ford and Toyota announced a partnership today to develop a new hybrid system for SUVs and light trucks. The "equal partners" deal should result in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that will be ready "later this decade" – in other words, in time for the higher CAFE standards that the U.S. government just announced.

Recently, Ford launched a Facebook page dedicated to its electrified vehicle technologies. Fans of Ford's page can access videos, photos, polls, announcements and direct questions to the team of engineers working on the automaker's five electrified vehicles. One example of the social network promotion? Back in January, Ford streamed the Focus Electric unveiling from the Consumer Electronics Show.

When you pair up automakers like Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford, with hybrid powertrain developer Flybrid Systems, engineering consultants Prodrive and Ricardo and transmissions experts Torotrak and Xtrac, you'll either end up with a load of industry experts duking it out over some trivial aspect of a vehicle, or, as in this case, a collective group of like-minded people working at specialized companies that possess the ability to get 'er done.

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery