Ford Motor Company is confirming today that its global electric vehicles plan is extending to Europe with five full electric or hybrid vehicles across its C, CD and light commercial vehicle ranges coming for European customers by 2013.
Specifically, Ford will launch two zero-emission full battery-electric vehicles including the Transit Connect Electric light commercial vehicle in 2011 followed by the Ford Focus Electric in 2012. Three other vehicles – two next-generation petrol hybrid-electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid – will be introduced in 2013.
Ford’s global electrification strategy will deliver a suite of electrified vehicles to a variety of markets and build on the company's overall vision of offering the widest possible range of technology solutions – instead of a single vehicle or technology – to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions for customers around the world.
"We recognise that one technology does not work for all our customers," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Global Product Development. "Our electrification strategy and plans include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles to best meet our global customers' needs. Leveraging our global platforms is also central to this strategy and allows us to build on our strong product line-up in the most customer-driven, affordable way."
As Ford's global product vision accelerates to ensure that all the company's vehicles competing in global segments become common in Europe, North America and Asia, the resulting efficiencies will allow a global portfolio of environmentally friendly transportation solutions to be developed based around hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles.
"Our goal is to provide consumers with access to significant fuel economy improvements and reduced CO2 emissions to meet their functional needs and without compromising their driving experience," said John Fleming, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
"There is increasing interest among a number of customers in Europe for electrified vehicles and we are responding by stepping up our efforts to bring these models to the marketplace alongside our latest-generation, fuel-efficient petrol and diesel powered models," Fleming added. "This is further evidence of how the ONE Ford global product vision is transforming our business. European consumers will not have to wait too long before they can choose from a range of electrified alternatives from Ford."
The first models to be launched in Europe will be zero-emission, full-electric versions of two significant models in Ford's global product portfolio.
The Focus Electric will be based on Ford's next-generation Focus model and is one of at least ten vehicles that will be developed from the company's new global C-car platform. Focus Electric will be introduced in the US and Canada in 2011, followed by Europe in 2012.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric is a zero-emission, pure electric-powered version of the award-winning Transit Connect light commercial vehicle and goes on sale in North America later this year. Ford is aiming to make the Transit Connect Electric available for European customers from 2011.
While Ford has considerable experience in the North American market with full petrol-hybrid vehicles, the company also is planning to expand its presence in Europe with two all-new, next-generation hybrid passenger cars based on global platforms following in 2013.
In addition, European customers will be able to opt for a plug-in hybrid model, also coming in 2013. "Thanks to the global economies of scale afforded to us by our ONE Ford initiative, I am delighted we are able to make the commitment now to deliver these models to customers in Europe, particularly as the demand for hybrid vehicles grows," added John Fleming.
Further details of Ford's hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will be revealed closer to launch.
Prototype Trials in Europe
Ford's Product Development team is participating in two specific European trial initiatives to demonstrate the technology in real world driving conditions, and generate feedback to help develop further the Focus Electric and the Transit Connect Electric for market acceptance in Europe.
In the UK, a consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Strathclyde University is preparing later this year to run a fleet of zero emissions prototype Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle prototypes, based around the current Focus model sold in Europe and using elements of the technology under development for the new Focus Electric. The vehicles will be used for evaluation by both SSE and a number of fleet and private customers based in Hillingdon, Middlesex from mid-2010.
This new UK-based BEV demonstration fleet is being created partly with public funding from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes innovative industry-led projects that reduce CO2. The BEV research programme aims to test the technology's suitability and to gain greater insight into customer charging behaviour.
In Germany, Ford has recently announced its participation in the colognE-mobil project. This initiative will research the impact of electric vehicles on urban air quality, traffic safety and the electricity supply infrastructure. Scientists will then scale up the results to examine the true benefits an electric future could deliver for German cities.
Ford is one of four partners in the colognE-mobil project and will provide an early fleet of next-generation Focus Electric vehicles in late 2011.
The other partners are utility company RheinEnergie AG, the City of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen. The colognE-mobil project is partly funded by the German Government and coordinated by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
"These initiatives are a revolution for both the utility and automotive industries," Fleming said. "Collaborating across sectors is essential to ensure customer focused products that provide the right value along with the readiness of the infrastructure. We need to work and learn together and Ford is very pleased to be a part of these important trials."
Portfolio of Technologies
Ford Motor Company is committed to offering customers affordable environmental technologies in the vehicles they want and value.
To do this, Ford is introducing a range of global environmental technologies, including electrified vehicles that provide customers with more fuel-efficient models emitting fewer greenhouse gases without compromising safety, interior room or performance. "Ford is focused on solutions that reach not just hundreds or thousands of cars, but millions of vehicles – because that is how Ford can truly make a difference," Derrick Kuzak said.
Near- and longer-term advancements include the new Ford EcoBoost global engine family featuring turbocharging and direct injection technology, Ford's ECOnetic range of low- CO2 technologies in Europe, and multi-speed transmissions such as Ford PowerShift.
Also, Ford is developing a range of other environmentally focused features, including advanced electric power steering, weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements, plus biofuel-capable vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
“Electrification is a key element in the effective use of Ford's global resources and talents to provide a portfolio of affordable and fuel-efficient technologies for customers,” said Fleming. “In particular our fleet trials in the UK and Germany will give us vital experience and insight into how fleet and private customers for these niche models will use them on a daily basis. This will ensure that the five models we bring to market are fully developed to meet their expectations."