Ford Announces Plans For Five More Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
Detroit, Jan. 9 -- Ford Motor Company is stepping up its commitment to creating a better world with a significant expansion of its hybrid vehicle lineup and announcement of the first customers for new hydrogen-powered vehicles that go on the road next year.
Ford said it plans four more hybrid-electric vehicles in the next three calendar years -- building on the success of the Ford Escape Hybrid introduced last year. Ford also said the State of Florida is the first customer for new Ford E-450 hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) buses next year, and discussions are under way with the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
"My great-grandfather’s vision was to provide affordable transportation for the world. I want to expand that vision for the 21st century and provide transportation that is affordable in every sense of the word – socially and environmentally, as well as economically," says Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford. "That means vehicles that are safe, clean and energy efficient."
The expanded hybrid lineup includes:
- Mercury Mariner Hybrid, with production pulled ahead for sale later this year;
- Ford Fusion Hybrid, which will be on the road in the 2008 calendar year;
- Mercury Milan Hybrid, which will be on the road in the 2008 calendar year, and
- Test fleet of Mazda Tribute Hybrids this year and full-scale production in two years.
All five will be full hybrids, which means at low speeds and when stopped – such as in city traffic or at a light – the gasoline engine automatically shuts off and the vehicle operates in electric-only mode. The result is significant fuel savings and higher city fuel economy.
Ford Motor Company’s first hybrid vehicle, the Ford Escape Hybrid, has received overwhelming reaction. Thousands of customers have put their names on dealer waiting lists. The world’s first hybrid sport-utility vehicle, the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is the cleanest SUV on the road and has earned the highest fuel economy numbers for an SUV as certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – 36 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in front-wheel-drive.
"Our commitment is clear. Five hybrids – one very popular one on sale today, another coming later this year and three more in the next three years," Bill Ford explained. "And it’s only the start and only one of the four fuel technologies we’re working seriously on."
The company also announced that the State of Florida is the first customer for eight hydrogen-powered Ford E-450 buses that will debut in 2006. In addition, the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is working with Ford on plans for fleet use of the V-10, hydrogen-powered buses next year.
The buses build on Ford Motor Company’s leadership in the development of hydrogen vehicles with internal combustion engines. The buses seat 12 passengers and their luggage, including the driver. The vehicles are equipped with a 26-gallon equivalent, 5,000-pounds-per-square-inch hydrogen fuel tank with an expected range of 150 miles.
Ford is demonstrating the buses and hydrogen technology to journalists attending this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Prototypes of the E-450 buses – as well as Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs and Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles – are being used to shuttle media around the city.
The Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles are part of the 30 vehicles being produced by Ford to put on the road for evaluation throughout the U.S. and Canada. The vehicles will be delivered beginning in February to fleets in Orlando, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; Taylor, Mich.; Berlin, Germany; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Created with support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project," the vehicles are designed to help promote development of hydrogen-based technologies.
Ford Motor Company believes hydrogen is the key alternative fuel of the future. To get there, the company is working on four fuel technologies that help establish the bridge to this future.
In fact, Ford is the only automaker doing serious work on all four fuel technologies, which include hybrid-electric vehicles, clean diesels, hydrogen ICE vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
"We have made a commitment to building a better world," Bill Ford says. "This isn’t just something we think would be nice to do. It’s the right thing to do. And we consider it a key element in building our company for the future."
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