The Detroit News reports that Ford's hybrid powertrains and
battery packs are nearly perfect despite the its hybrid fleet
having racked up 80 million miles in heavy-duty use with taxi cabs in San
Francisco. Out of the 42,629,318 battery cells in use – which are the size of a
household D-cell battery -- only five cells have failed. That huge number of
cells was used to make 190,000 individual battery packs for hybrid vehicles.
Ford currently has 380,000 electric motors in the field packed inside those
190,000 hybrids sold so far and out of that number of electric motors not a
single one has failed so far. Despite the fact that the electric motors and
battery packs are already achieving very impressive levels of quality, Ford is
still working to make things better.
Ford currently has an 88% satisfaction rate for the Fusion Hybrid, which is
better than the higher volume Toyota Prius that is the watermark for many
hybrids on the market. That figure comes from data collected by research firm
RDA Group for Ford.
Bob Taenaka is Ford's hybrid battery technical leader said, "The
development of batteries for hybrids is a lot like rocket science." That
might sound like a boastful statement, but Taenaka should know considering his
last job was at NASA designing batteries for the Galileo spacecraft.
The Detroit News reports that Ford
sold 34,000 hybrids in 2010 and that sales overall this year have not grown
despite the fact that there are more hybrid and electric vehicles on the market
today than ever before. Ford is set to increase the number of hybrids and EVs it
builds in 2012.
Dave Sullivan from research firm AutoPacific Inc said, "For many people,
hybrids and electric cars are almost like halo cars — they draw more people to
the dealership, but not everyone buys them."