Ford expands electric vehicles plan

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Ford is expanding its global electric vehicles plan to Europe, with five full-electric or hybrid vehicles across its C, CD and light commercial vehicle ranges being available by 2013.

Ford says it 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.

The first models to be launched in Europe will be zero-emission, full-electric versions of models in Ford’s global portfolio.

The Focus Electric will be based on Ford’s next-generation Focus model and is one of at least 10 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 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.

The company is also planning to expand its presence in Europe, with two all-new, next-generation hybrid passenger cars based on global platforms following in 2013. European customers will be able to opt for a plug-in hybrid model.

Prototype trials

Ford’s product development team is already participating in European trials 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 European customers.

In the UK, a consortium comprising Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Strathclyde University is preparing to run a fleet of zero-emissions prototype Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) 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 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 funding from the Technology Strategy Board. The BEV research programme aims to test the technology’s suitability and to gain greater insight into customer charging behaviour.