GENEVA -- Ford Motor Co. said it will expand its global vehicle electrification program to Europe in 2011, starting with the battery-powered Transit Connect.
In all, Ford will offer five electric or hybrid vehicles in Europe across its C, C/D and light commercial vehicle ranges by 2013. Ford announced the initiative today at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Besides the Transit Connect Electric, Ford will offer the Focus Electric in 2012, two unnamed gasoline hybrid vehicles and one unnamed plug-in hybrid model. The hybrids will appear in 2013.
The vehicles will go on sale in North America six to 12 months before sales in Europe.
“Electrification from our view is going to be a part of the global fuel diversity,” Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electrification, said during a press event last week in Dearborn, Michigan. “Oil as the only alternative as a fuel source is not a good business strategy.”
Ford's next-generation C and C/D vehicle platforms have been engineered for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, petro- and diesel applications, Gioia said.
By 2020, globally “10 to 25 percent of Ford's fleet will be electrified,” she said. Specific percentages will depend on regional factors such as fuel prices, government incentives and economic conditions. An additional factor will be whether breakthroughs dramatically boost the fuel economy of vehicles using gas and diesel engines.
For North America, of that 10 to 25 percent, about 70 percent will be hybrid vehicles, about 20 percent plug-ins and about 5 percent electric, Gioia said. Ford estimates a plus or minus factor of 5 percentage points.
Other than the battery, such things as the electric motor, transaxle, power electronics, dual inverters and connectors for the high voltage are, for the most part, shared by the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models, she said.
“That says that even if I am off by 10 or 20 percent [globally], all except the battery cell from our supply base is the same,” she said.
Long term, Gioia said, gasoline and diesel engines will “still be on the road in 2050 for particular applications.”
Ford's product development team is participating in two European trial initiatives to demonstrate electric technology in real-world driving conditions. Additionally, the team will generate feedback to help further develop the Focus Electric and Transit Connect Electric for acceptance in Europe.
This year in England, a consortium composed of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy, and Strathclyde University in Glasgow will evaluate a fleet of Ford Focus battery-electric prototypes in Hillingdon, Middlesex.
In Germany, Ford 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. The evaluation will begin in late 2011.
Ford is one of four partners in the colognE-mobil project. The others are the 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.