Ford Plans to Introduce Hybrids and Electric Vehicles Europe Next Year

Ford Motor Company on Wednesday announced that it will begin offering five electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles in Europe beginning in 2011. The first of these will be the battery-electric Transit Connect which will be followed by four C, C/D and light commercial class vehicles over the next two years.

Following the launch of the battery-electric Transit Connect, Ford plans to launch the Focus Electric and two, as-yet unnamed gasoline-electric hybrids in 2012. The following year, in 2013, the company will introduce two more hybrids which were also not identified by name.

Ford plans to introduce each of the electric and hybrid models in North America between six and 12 months prior to their European launch dates.

Speaking at a press event last week in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford’s director of global electrification, Nancy Gioia said, Electrification from our view is going to be a part of the global fuel diversity. Oil, as the only alternative as a fuel source, is not a good business strategy.

Gioia said Ford has engineered its next-generation C and C/D platforms to accommodate the needs of hybrid, battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, gasoline and diesel applications.

She also predicted that 10% to 25% of Ford’s fleet will be electrified by 2020. She said the exact percentages will be determined to a large degree by regional market factors including economic conditions, government involvement and incentives and fuel prices. She said another factor will be whether or not new technologies can improve the fuel efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines to the point that they are competitive with alternative fuel vehicles.

In North America, Gioia expects between 10% and 25% of the autos on the roads to be alternative energy vehicles by 2020. Of those, she expects about 70% to be hybrids with the remaining mix to consist of about 20% plug-ins and 5% battery-electrics.

According to Gioia, Ford’s official estimates allow for a margin of error plus or minus 5%. Aside from batteries, she said, other components like dual inverters and connectors, electric motors, transaxles and power electronics are common to electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

She said, Even if I am off by 10% or 20% [globally], all except the battery cell from our supply base is the same.

Far from an immediate and total transformation away from fossil fuel usage, Gioia predicted that gas and diesel vehicles will still be on the road in 2050 for particular applications.

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