Wow, desperate times call for desperate measures. The main story on FOXnews.com today is
about how Ford Motor Co. CEO, Alan Mulally, says he’ll work for $1 per year if Ford takes any government loan money. The plan Ford is presenting to Congress this week also says it will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year. Mulally said in an interview Tuesday that Ford will emphasize its cost cutting efforts with the United Auto Workers union and will give much more detail to Congress than it did during a visit earlier this month. The company also will accelerate plans to roll out electric cars as part of the plan it will present to Congress this week.
I also have the Ford Business Plan here, the one submitted to the Senate Banking Committee. I found the parts that involved their plans to implement hybrid and fully electric cars into their fleet and posted it below. Stuff I left out is mostly a bunch of puff about how they will build better quality cars, why they are in trouble, and how sorry they are. Their electric car plans remain quite vague and they insist they need a technological breakthrough in battery technology to implement them on a wide scale. They “cannot work alone.”
Ford Business Plan: Electrification Strategy Excerpt
Sustainability and Electrification Strategy
Ford’s sustainability plan will achieve continuous and substantial improvement in fuel economy and a corresponding reductionin CO2 through affordable technology in high volume. Ford’s plan is to make affordable fuel efficiency available to millions of consumers. They also plan to build smaller cars, and only touch on their commitment to continue ethanol and biofuels once.
Our three-phased approach with near-term, medium-term and long-term advanced technologies and products begins now with advanced internal combustion engine and transmission technologies, such as our EcoBoost engines going into production on several vehicles in 2009. The next major step in
Ford’s plan is to increase over time the volume of electrified vehicles, as battery costs improve
and as the transition from Hybrids to Plug-in Hybrids to Battery Electric Vehicles occurs.
Next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we will
discuss in detail Ford’s accelerated vehicle electrification plan, which includes bringing
to market by 2012 a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. Our
work will include partnering with battery and powertrain systems suppliers to deliver a
full battery electric vehicle (BEV) in a van-type vehicle for commercial fleet use in 2010
and a BEV sedan in 2011. We will develop these vehicles in a manner that enables us
to reduce costs and ultimately makes battery electric powered vehicles more affordable
Our plan also includes building on our competence in hybrid vehicles, as
demonstrated by the industry-leading fuel economy of the Ford Escape and Ford Fusion
hybrids. We are now developing our next generation full hybrid technology, which
includes plug-in capability, for vehicles in 2012 and beyond. We are targeting a
substantial increase in hybrid volume through a greater than 30% reduction in cost,
installation of hybrid capability in global platforms and hybrid vehicles that are uniquely
Ford’s three-phased approach to sustainability provides immediate and significant improvements on a wide scale and accelerated electrification, including next generation hybrids and all-electric
We cannot, however, accomplish significant electrification by ourselves. The
2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requires American-developed breakthroughs in high-power energy batteries (e.g. lithium ion). In order to make significant progress in electrification, Ford supports establishing a U.S. public/private partnership to accelerate the development of this capability, including supporting infrastructure, within the United States.
Ford supports a public/private partnership to develop next generation battery technology
(Ford will) Continue to develop and deploy hybrids while reducing cost for expanded market applications. Ford was the first U.S. company to introduce a hybrid with the introduction of the Ford Escape Hybrid in 2004 and the Escape and Mariner Hybrids remain the fuel-economy leaders among all sport utilities. Full HEV nameplate offerings and volume will double in 2009 with introduction of Ford
Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrids, which best the Toyota Camry hybrid by at least six mpg.
Achieve annual fuel savings of 2.5 billion gallons by 2012 model year and 3.1 billion gallons by 2015 model year from new fuel efficient vehicle.
I’m in Los Angeles this week and I was astounded at the number of Prius hybrid electric cars on the road. It is easily the most popular model in California and it is officially Toyota’s top seller in the United States. While this site is mainly dedicated to fully electric powered vehicles, I thought I’d dedicate a section to the hybrid movement we are seeing on the American roads today. I don’t think they are the end all solution to the energy crisis, but you have to walk before you can run, and America is walking finally. Some people might be confused about how, exactly, these cars work and I thought I’d clarify them a little.
Parallel Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)
HEVs, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius have become hugely popular in the United States for their fuel economy and unlimited range. These cars are technically known as parallel electric hybrids because they utilize two sources of power at the same time, and electric motor and internal combustion engine. This means both power sources can be utilized at the same time to give the car easier, faster acceleration, like the K1 Attack, which goes 0-60 in 3 seconds when utilizing both power sources. OR as parallel hybrids are more conventionally used in the Prius, the electric motor is utilized while the combustion engine is completely off at speeds 0-40 mph because it provides more responsive torque and no gas whatsoever. In an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, most gas is consumed from 0-40 during acceleration, so parallel hybrids get better gas mileage in the city. The internal combustion engine is used at speeds above 40 mph because it provides a higher top speed, and requires less gas than normal because it doesn’t need as much torque or gas at consistent highway speeds. The internal combustion engine can also drive the car at low speeds when the battery is low. This doesn’t happen often, because when the vehicle brakes, the kinetic energy is captured by letting the wheels turn the alternator which powers the battery, this is known as regenerative braking.
Serial Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
As of now, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are not yet produced. The Chevy Volt concept is a serial hybrid electric vehicle. These cars rely purely on an electric motor to power the wheels. The Volt will potentially get 40 miles on a charge (hence, PHEV-40), then for any driving after that, a combustion engine will kick in, not to power the wheels, but to act as a generator that recharges the battery. The Volt likely has such a low ev range because GM did not want to sacrifice performance for electric power. PHEV’s can utilize regenerative braking just like HEV’s. Thus, you get the near unlimited driving range from the established gasoline infrastructure for long trips, but you can potentially go weeks without ever having to utilize the combustion engine for your daily commute.
Electric cars are potentially superior to all of these because they do not utilize antiquated internal combustion engines at all. The parts and fluids used to manage an internal combustion engine is staggering compared to the lightweight, energy efficient electric motor. The criticism of the electric car is the idea that batteries have not yet developed enough. But because of their wide range of applications, battery technologies are advancing at a swift pace; while ICE technology has been at a relative standstill for decades. And when companies such as GM say the technology is not there, you need to keep in mind that exact same company came out with a completely viable electric car in the late 90′s, the EV1, using lead acid batteries, before lithium-ion, before the potential revolutionary EEstor. But hey, thanks to the popularity of hybrids we are now walking in the right direction.