Ford on track to deliver HEVs to US and Europe

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Ford Motor Company has confirmed that it is on schedule to deliver five electrified vehicles for launch in the US by 2012 and European markets by 2013.

A full battery-electric Ford Transit Connect will be introduced in 2011 and a battery-electric derivative of the next-generation Ford Focus is due in 2012.

Ford’s Valencia plant in Spain will build the company’s first hybrid models for European customers. Made up of two advanced technology derivatives − a full hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) − the Ford C-MAX model is due for launch in 2013.

The fifth vehicle will also be a next-generation hybrid-electric model and will be announced at a later date.

According to Ford, the C-MAX PHEV and HEV models will use the company’s powersplit architecture with an Atkinson-cycle engine in combination with a high-voltage electric traction motor generator and a lithium-ion battery system.

In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and gas-powered engine can work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The engine can also operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions and work with the engine at higher speeds.

‘A plug-in hybrid owner will make fewer trips to the pump to refuel, because of its all-electric mode capability,’ said Lisa Drake, chief engineer for Ford’s Global Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicle programmes. ‘They’ll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they’ll never have to think about the vehicle’s electric range, because the plug-in hybrid shifts to gas when needed.’

According to automotive market research company RL Polk, European hybrid vehicle sales are projected to double between 2010 and 2012.

Ford further claims that other researchers project worldwide hybrid sales to top six million units per year by 2020, with the volume leaders being the US, Europe and China.

Car manufacturers are starting to capitalise on the design freedom offered by low-carbon electric vehicles. Click here to read more.