Ford Unveils New Plug-In Fuel Cell Hybrid and Flex-Fuel Hybrids
January 31, 2007
Ford Motor Company unveiled on January 23rd a drivable concept vehicle that combines a hydrogen fuel cell with a lithium-ion battery pack that can be plugged in at home for recharging. The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive features the same drivetrain that Ford envisioned for its Ford Airstream concept, which was displayed at the Detroit Auto Show, but this time it's for real. The vehicle draws on a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack that can power the car for 25 miles, after which the hydrogen fuel cell kicks on to recharge the battery. According to Ford, using the fuel cell as a battery charger allows it to be 50 percent smaller, and the steady load doubles its useful lifetime. Ford introduced the vehicle at the Washington Auto Show, which ended on January 28th. See the Ford press release.
Ford also showcased its Escape Hybrid E85, a hybrid vehicle that can be fueled with gasoline or E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ford announced that it will deliver 20 of the demonstration vehicles to vehicle fleets in six states for on-the-road testing. Ford has also updated the design of its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, while cutting the price on all models of the vehicles by more than $1,000. The company claims the vehicles will be more fuel efficient, with a two-mile-per-gallon improvement for the standard models and a three-mile-per-gallon improvement for the hybrids. Production of the vehicles started in Kansas City, Missouri, last week in preparation for placing the vehicles on sale within the next two months. See the Ford press releases on the Escape Hybrid E85, the redesigned Escape, the redesigned Mariner, and the production start for the vehicles.
While Ford emphasized hybrids at the Washington Auto Show, DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen placed their emphasis on clean diesels. The Chrysler Group unveiled the 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks, both of which featured a 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel engine built by Cummins, Inc. The engine can already meet emissions standards that will go into effect in 2010. Volkswagen of America, Inc. introduced the Jetta TDI, which achieves even lower nitrous oxide emissions. It will go on sale in early 2008, and in mid-2008, Volkswagen will start selling a small diesel-powered SUV, called the Tiguan. See the press releases from Cummins and Volkswagen.