Apr 8, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Although Ford has announced PHEV concept cars (see curious report below), it appears the company has decided it too needs to be able to say that it, like GM and Toyota, is going to build a PHEV someday. Without production dates, it's really a matter of who can say "yes, but..." in a more creative way (see http://www.calcars.org/carmakers.html).
And as with Executive Vice President Lewis Booth's comments a week before http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/728.html, Product Chief Derrick Kuzak confuses rather than clarifies the issues by citing the "problem of infrastructure," then, as if it were the same thing, "where will the electricity come from" (presumably, questioning how clean is power from the grid). We held off sending this story out in hopes of getting an full quote rather than paraphrases, but none turned up.
Ford developing a plug-in hybrid - exec [says?] http://www.reuters.com/article/tnBasicIndustries-SP/idUSN0436918420070404 Reporting by Jui Chakravorty
NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co.is working to develop a plug-in hybrid vehicle, product chief Derrick Kuzak said on Wednesday, adding that the biggest challenge is developing the battery technology.
Speaking to reporters at the New York International Auto Show, Kuzak said the automaker is working on advanced battery technology for the vehicle.
"The battery technology is one of the biggest challenges," Kuzak said. "There is also the problem of infrastructure. When people start driving electric cars, where will the electricity come from? That has to be looked at."
Unlike current gas-electric hybrids, which use a parallel system twinning battery power and a combustion engine, plug-in cars could be driven entirely by electric power. But no automaker has a plug-in on the road yet, due to a host of barriers.
Rivals Toyota Motor Co. Ltd., which leads the market in hybrid sales, and General Motors Corp. are also working on lithium-ion battery technology for plug-in hybrids.
Battery technology is the key to next-generation vehicles as automakers seek ways to lower the cost of batteries and increase their power and storage capacity.
GM has said its plug-in would be able to drive 40 miles on pure electricity. "Some automakers are saying 40, but we are saying 20 to 25 miles ... to offload the battery (give it a rest) and potentially make it more affordable," Kuzak said.
A Detroit News report on President Bush's experience with a hydrogen concept PHEV has been getting lots of attention online -- and not making Ford look good. This story seems implausible, since it's not clear why Ford would design a car in which a cable could plug into the wrong place, or how a spark could reach hydrogen gas. It is notable, however, that this is the second PHEV in six weeks to appear at the White House (see http://www.calcars.org/photos.html.)
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070407/AUTO01/704070338/1148 Plug it in, fire it up, Mr. President The Detroit News Saturday, April 07, 2007
CAPTION: Ford President Alan Mulally, right, had to be quick on his feet to make sure President Bush plugged a power cord into the right socket on a Ford hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid.
Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.
Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford's hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.
"I just thought, 'Oh my goodness!' So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally said. "I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?"