Ford is unveiling a diesel-hybrid concept car at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Mercury Meta One is based on the Freestyle and uses a twin-turbocharged V-6 diesel combined with an electric motor. No details yet on the elements of the hybrid system, or projected fuel consumption. Meta One is designed to meet California’s Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) requirement.
The hybrid powertrain delivers 431 lb.-ft. of torque and is 97% cleaner than the Tier I emissions standard for NOx. Meta One, according to Ford, shows that diesels can potentially meet the strictest emissions standards when combined with modern hybrid and after-treatment technologies.
To meet the California PZEV requirements, the vehicle must meet SULEV-2 emissions levels combined with a 15 year/150K mile emissions warranty and a zero-evaporative fuel system. There are some 16+ 2004 models from 10 different automakers meeting PZEV requirements, among them the Ford Focus and the hybrid Escape (AT-PZEV for Advanced Technology PZEV).
Ford has also working with BP in exploring the performance of biodiesel in the concept engine.
The Meta One is also a showcase for two new advances in safety technology: Lane Departure Warning and Collision Mitigation by Braking. (Meta One also features built-in WiFi capability.)
Ford, which is adding two more gas-electric hybrids to its lineup, isn’t ready to commit to diesel hybrid technology. But preliminary tests are promising.
“They are very close, from an emissions level—theoretically—to what a fuel cell could produce,“ said Phil Martens, group vice president of North America product creation.
More details as they come.
Ford, with its partnership with PSA, is becoming more of a force in diesel engines...especially smaller diesel engines popular in Europe. Earlier this year, Ford joined with the UK Department for Transport, Ricardo Consulting Engineers, Valeo SA and the Gates Corporation in a research project to develop a diesel hybrid medium-sized commercial vehicle.