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Ford Announces Big Hybrids Push to 250,000 per Year by 2010; Other Green Initiatives

21 September 2005

In a speech today at the Ford Scientific Research Laboratory (now renamed the Ford Research and Innovation Center) Ford CEO Bill Ford Jr. vowed a major push in hybrids, targeting a production capability of at least 250,000 hybrids per year by 2010, and stated that more than half of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products will have hybrid capability by then.

He also announced that Ford will offer new Flex-Fuel versions of the F-150, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car in 2006 for a total production of some 250,000 E85-capable vehicles next year.

We know that our customers are increasingly concerned about energy for many reasons: its volatile price; its impact on the environment; and its concentration in the hands of a few nations, some of whom are hostile to our national interests. A multi-dimensional energy crisis afflicts this nation, and our customers feel it in their pocketbooks.

Our job is to help alleviate some of their concerns with viable options in their personal transportation. And that poses a particularly difficult challenge to us at Ford, where many of the vehicles we produce are bigger, heavier and more energy intensive than those of some of our competitors.

But the challenging issues raised by the use of fossil fuels call for even more creative solutions, some of which may not be fully appreciated for a number of years.

[...] Longer term, people in Ford labs around the world are working hard to develop technologies that provide even more options, such as clean diesel, hydrogen internal combustion engines and fuel cells. It is simply too early to know whether one solution might render the others obsolete.

To deal with that uncertainty, Ford outlined a strategy he termed “Aggressive Flexibility”—pushing hard on all other best ideas to respond as markets and governments make known their preferences.

Other initiatives Ford announced today related to sustainability included:

  • A Carbon Offset Program. Ford will pay for projects around the world that reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount that it emits in the production of our hybrid vehicles. That might mean a methane abatement project in Central America, a tree planting effort in Asia or a wind farm in California that would reduce the amount of CO2 that would normally occur had such projects not been in place. (It’s not yet clear whether Ford will fund the projects directly, or go through an exchange.)

    Additionally, the company is in discussions with outside partners to initiate an informational campaign for consumers on how they can offset the carbon emissions from their vehicle use.

  • Also on the flex-fuel front, Ford is working with fuel providers to expand the infrastructure needed to provide ethanol. Bill Ford said the company will “actively engage” customers so they will understand that they have FFV options.

September 21, 2005 in Ethanol, Hybrids, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (1)

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Comments

Good job Ford! But realistically, I should be saying good job to the consumer, because they are the reason this is happening. Ford responds to $$$ and what sells. If the public asks for it, they shall get it.

A 10-fold increase to 250,000 sounds good, until you realize that Toyota/Lexus is already making that many hybrids this year (and plans on double that in 2006). It's going to take Ford 5 years just to get to to 250,000, which is still less than 10% of their current total yearly sales. Not a very ambitous goal, really. However, I do have to give Ford credit for actually making "real" hybrids (unlike GM).

I hope that the 250,000 number takes into account current supplier problems, and that if these problems are solved faster than expected (ie. if they realize that there's lots of money to be made because oil prices stay high), that the number will rise above 250,000 before 5 years.

"Good job, Ford!"

Perhaps - I hope so - but at present, it's just a speech. Keep in mind that greenies have taken Bill Ford to task in the past because he - in their eyes - promised much, but did not walk the way he talked. Let's see what happens in 2010.

Ford also has significant hybrid component bottlenecks to solve before they can increase hybrid production by 10x - not the least of which is their dependency on Japanese hybrid component suppliers. Ford would like to make many more hybrid Escapes this year, but cannot, precisely because of this problem.

"Never had a doubt in the beginning
Never a doubt
Trusted you true in the beginning
I loved you right through

On and on we laughed like kids
At all the silly things we did

You made me promises, promises
Knowing I'd believe
Promises, promises
You knew you'd never keep

Second time around, I'm still believing
The words that you said
You said you'd always be here
And love forever still repeats in my head

You can't finish what you start
If this is love it breaks my heart

You made me promises, promises
You knew you'd never keep
Promises, promises
Why do I believe?"

lol

Ford uses low compression to allow consumers to switch back to gasoline, alcohol fuels do much better with high compression. Ford should produce some high compression vehicles (at least 12 to 1), or establish variable compression ratios for flex fuel vehicles.

85/15 (85% alcohol with 15% gasoline) was first authorized in California as an experimental fuel in 1978. This formula needs to be improved to eliminate the various problems that 85/15 brings with it. After 29 years of using this as an experimental fuel, I would think that the formula would have been improved by USDoE, the alcohol producers, or the car manufacturers. But they have not improved it one bit.

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