Ford Details Future Plans For Battery-Electric Vehicles

By Editors on January 16, 2009 12:32 PM

Ford will be fast-tracking a wide range of electric vehicles during the next four years, including hybrids, extended-range plug-ins and pure battery electrics. The game plan, presented at the Detroit show by Executive Chairman Bill Ford, indicated that the automaker will be working with various suppliers, public utilities, policymakers and universities to leverage its own assets in the areas of battery technology, manufacturing and infrastructure. Included in this new electrified lineup are a full battery electric commercial van in 2010, a battery-electric passenger car in 2011 and a new generation of hybrid vehicles that will include a plug-in variant by 2012.

One of the keys to Ford's success in this venture will be a new agreement with auto component supplier Magna International. The well-respected Canadian operation will be providing provide the electric traction motor, transmission, motor controller, energy storage system, battery charger and related systems for the upcoming battery-electric vehicle (BEV), which will be based on a Focus-sized "C-Category" sedan. Magna will also share in the engineering responsibility to integrate the electric propulsion system and other new systems into the vehicle's platform architecture. The initial package is already undergoing testing, and numerous Focus-based mules have been on the road for the past six months. Using a 100-kilowatt (134-horsepower) electric motor powered by a 23-kilowatt Lithium-ion battery pack, the car is currently capable of running 80 miles on a single charge, although Ford and Magna are anticipating extending that range to roughly 100 miles in production form. Recharging time will be 12 hours using 110V current or six on a 220V line.

Rounding out the mix, Ford plans to introduce new electric powertrains -- either pure EV or plug-in hybrid -- into two additional new global platforms: a next-gen Focus-sized offering and a Fusion-scaled (CD-Category) model. Both will be part of its wide-ranging EV program that will add four new battery-electric vehicles to its projected 2012 family portfolio.