What is it that makes Ford so different from the rest? Why is Ford the leader of the electric and hybrid market? Could it be that they didn’t have to run to the Government to be saved? Ford isn’t just an example of “survival of the fittest”, it’s an example of “dominance of the fittest”.
The Focus Electricwas announced last week, but that was already a known story. We’d seen a working example in action on the old Jay Leno Show, and prototypes have been in test for a couple of years as their new battery and drivetrain technology was developed. Now the next stage of the plan has been previewed at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
The C-MAX Hybridsignificantly builds upon 1st-generation hybid technology developed for the Escape and Fusion (both of which are due for replacement in the next two years). A significant improvement in gas mileage and drivability will be the result of not only 2nd-generation electronic controls, but also new lithium-ion batteries as well as further development of the existing “powersplit hybrid architecture”. Expect Ford to detail improvements to that architecture further in the next year as the system is finalized for a 2012 delivery. Use of it in the C-MAX is just the beginning of a rollout across several vehicles.
The C-MAX Energi is a plug-in hybrid that can shut down it’s has engine to run solely on electric power. Ford isn’t providing full details of this all-new system yet… we’ll probably have to wait a year for that. But it promises extraordinary mileage and range: Ford will claim even better range than the Chevy Volt.
With these announcements, and much more to come, it would seem to be the a good time to go back to the “Ford has a better idea” advertising theme!
As we’ve said before, this type of technology will eventually be applied to mainstream performance vehicles (some of it is already in use in the Tesla Roadster), and it’s a good thing for us since electric motors make all of their torque from 1 RPM to maximum. We’ll make a prediction (or a call to action) with no inside information at all, purely as an observer: in four years, Ford will announce the next Focus RS, which will offer a turbocharged 2-liter 4 cylinder gas engine of 280 HP, electronically coupled to an electric motor to provide a total of 330 HP and an astounding 400 ft lb of torque. When delivered to the market, it will acheive 36 MPG in the EPA highway rating. This may be wishful thinking, because a 4-wheel drive system would be needed to apply this type of power, but the powertrain at least is feasible.
Ford press release follows:
FORD ELECTRIC VEHICLE PLAN OFFERS REAL CHOICE WITH NEW FOCUS ELECTRIC, C-MAX ENERGI AND C-MAX HYBRID
- Ford is showcasing three new electric models as part of a customer choice-driven strategy, led by the all-new Ford Focus Electric, which will debut in the U.S. in late 2011
- Ford will launch the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and C-MAX Hybrid in 2012 in North America and in 2013 in Europe. Both will use the company’s critically acclaimed powersplit hybrid architecture and advanced lithium-ion battery systems; C-MAX Energi will deliver better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt
- Ford’s electrified vehicles are just one part of a broad commitment to delivering top fuel efficiency with every vehicle and providing affordable fuel efficiency for millions of customers
- Ford is on track to bring five new electrified vehicles to North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ease of use and an engaging ownership experience is a key part of the strategy
DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 – Differentiating itself with an electrification strategy that emphasizes customer choice, Ford is introducing a family of electrified vehicles – including its first all-electric passenger sedan, the all-new Focus Electric.
The debut of C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, on the heels of the newly unveiled Focus Electric, builds on Ford’s electrified vehicle portfolio, bringing expanded choice to customers and further strengthening the company’s sustainability strategy.
The fuel-free, all-electric rechargeable Focus Electric passenger car will launch in North America in late 2011 and Europe in 2012. The C-MAX Energi is the company’s first-ever plug-in hybrid production electric vehicle that comes to market beginning in 2012, targeting AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status. The C-MAX Hybrid is a next-generation full hybrid version of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle.
The new-generation Ford electrified vehicles introduce new features and technologies – led by a unique version of the MyFord Touch™ driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and, for North America, a smartphone app called MyFordMobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
“By providing a variety of electrified vehicles, we are making it easier for our customers to embrace this fuel-saving technology,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “This strategy is true to our heritage of making innovative technology available to as many people as possible and to our vision of developing great products, building a strong business and contributing to a better world.”
Ford electric trio
The three new Ford electrified products build on Ford’s experience as America’s top domestic producer of electrified vehicles with 140,000 hybrid products on the road today:
- Focus Electric – Based on the all-new Ford Focus mainstream vehicle, the Focus Electric will offer adequate range to cover the majority of daily driving habits plus a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles. It will charge in half the time of a Nissan Leaf
- C-MAX Energi – Based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, the C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine. It delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt
- C-MAX Hybrid – The full hybrid variant of C-MAX is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America. It also leverages the company’s powersplit hybrid architecture and uses a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system
The three new models leverage Ford’s global C-car platform and will be built alongside the all-new Ford Focus at the company’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. Ford will build the new C-MAX Energi and Hybrid models for European markets at its plant in Valencia, Spain, as previously announced.
Ford’s rollout of five new hybrid andelectric passenger vehicles began in December with the first deliveries of its 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric – a small commercial van built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics. Ford will round out its lineup of new electrified vehicles in North America and Europe with another next-generation hybrid vehicle, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, which will be named later.
“Ford’s plan to deliver a full range of exciting, energy-efficient vehicles is on track and fully charged,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s electrification programs and engineering. “Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid demonstrate Ford’s commitment to delivering significant fuel economy gains and reduced CO2 emissions to meet our customers’ functional needs without compromising their driving enjoyment.”
Ford’s next-generation hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles will build on the company’s success with its Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid – America’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan and most fuel-efficient SUV, respectively. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid joined the North American lineup last fall and is the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America. In total, Ford has more than 140,000 hybrid vehicles on the road to date.
“One technology does not work for all customers – hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles each offer distinctly different advantages,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “By leveraging our global platforms, we are able to offer our customers more choices of electrified solutions as part of a fuel-efficient product lineup.”
Ford is designing its electric vehicles to provide outstanding fuel efficiency with no compromise on driving enjoyment. Smooth regenerative braking, confident acceleration, a comfortable interior and smart driver information features helped earn the Fusion Hybrid the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award and a place on many best green car lists.
“More than any other electric vehicle on the market, Focus Electric loses none of the dynamics and driving quality of a traditional car Marakby. “They share many of the same high-quality components as their gasoline- and diesel-powered counterparts, while delivering excellent fuel economy and no-compromise driving enjoyment.”
The lithium-ion advantage
Focus Electric and upcoming hybrid/plug-in hybrid vehicles will use advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today’s hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, making them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration, or to increase energy to extend driving distance.
Future owners of Focus Electric will recharge their vehicle’s on-board Li-ion battery packs using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station that will be sold separately or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle. Focus Electric customers are likelyto recharge the gas-free vehicle daily.
Daily charging is recommended for C-MAX Energi as well to maximize the use of electric driving mode, but is not necessary for vehicle operation. Thanks to the efficiencies of its battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a standard household power outlet. C-MAX Hybrid requires no charging.
Owners of the new Focus Electric and the C-MAX Energi will enjoy advantages when it comes to charging their vehicles.
A full recharge of the Focus Electric is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station –half the time as the Nissan Leaf. When fully charged, Focus Electric is designed to offer adequate range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of most motorists. The Focus Electric will offer a better miles-per-gallon equivalent than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.
C-MAX Energi will deliver better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt. The C-MAX Energi will achieve more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. Charging the plug-in hybrid vehicle allows customers to significantly increase their driving in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board gas engine.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the Focus Electric or C-MAX Energi charge port, which is conveniently located between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
A smarter gauge – MyFord Touch for EVs
Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi also will feature a suite of smart driver information systems – led by a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system – designed to help vehicle owners maximize fuel efficiency, extend electric range, plan the most eco-friendly route and manage the battery recharge process. This is a key part of the Ford strategy to make electrified vehicle ownership a real experience for customers.
C-MAX Hybrid also will leverage some of these same technologies to help drivers get more miles per gallon.
In Ford’s next-generation hybrids, the MyFord Touch system has been enhanced with thoughtful features especially for the electric vehicle experience. Its dual-display digital instrument cluster can be configured by the driver to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, as well as average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster’s new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi.
Focus Electric owners will have access to basic data, such as battery state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding budget and expected range surplus, which are all easily visible on the two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking the centrally mounted speedometer. It offers unrivaled possibilities for personalization.
In Ford’s next-generation hybrids – as in its current hybrids – long-term fuel efficiency is displayed in two ways, either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines, creating a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts.
Similarly, the display in Focus Electric uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more there are, the greater the range. Ford designers were inspired by the phenomenon known as “the butterfly effect,” in which a small change, like choosing to drive an EV, can have an enormous impact.
When each trip is completed, the Focus Electric MyFord Touch screens come alive to inform the driver about fuel saved, energy reclaimed through regenerative braking and charge information.
Off-board, Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile app.
MyFord Mobile enables customers – via a smartphone/feature phone app or secure Ford website – to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car’s state of charge and current range, get alerts when it requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to Focus Electric using SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI). Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by SYNC or through the in-car map-based Navigation System where available. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directlythrough SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.
A value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or other reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
Microsoft-powered value charging is an all-new feature uniquely offered by Ford.
“Life with rechargeable vehicles holds enormous potential – it’s a new frontier for the auto industry and its customers,” said Marakby. “However, the commercialization of rechargeable vehicles is not something the auto industry can do alone – it will take broad-based collaboration and systems solutions. That’s why Ford is working closely with its technology partners, the utility industry and government agencies. By working together, we can ensure a smooth transition to a greener future.”
Investing in tomorrow’s technology today
Ford’s commitment to electrification reaches beyond product development to the manufacturing floor. The company has invested approximately $1 billion to transform its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., to build the all-new Focus, Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid.
Ford teamed with Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power andthe state of Michigan to establish one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state at Michigan Assembly Plant. The renewable energy captured by the project’s primary solar energy system will help power vehicle production.
The company also moved battery system design and development in-house, shifting production of the battery packs for its next-generation hybrid from Mexico to Michigan. Ford will produce hybrid transaxles at its Van Dyke Transmission facility in Sterling Heights, Mich., beginning in 2012.
“The overall investment underscores our commitment to developing core competencies, retraining our engineering and manufacturing work force and attracting new talent to the auto industry to deliver a full range of electrified vehicles to customers,” said Kuzak. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”