Ford boosted its electric/hybrid market share from 3 percent to 15 percent in the past year

Ford has seen a significant increase in electric and hybrid vehicle sales over the last year, and it's looking to give rival Toyota a run for its money.

According to The Detroit News, Ford has managed to boost its electric/hybrid vehicle market share from 3 percent to 15 percent in the past year. 

The report added that from September 2012 through September 2013, Ford sold approximately 85,000 hybrid and electric vehicles -- which is a major increase from the 22,000 sold during the year prior to that. 

These numbers are pretty significant for Ford, considering it encountered a hiccup with the Ford C-Max Hybrid last year. The vehicle was previously rated at 47/47/47 (city/highway/combined), but Consumer Reports called Ford out on the fact that these numbers were inflated after extensive testing. 

In August of this year, Ford relented and lowered the C-Max Hybrid's numbers to 45/40/43 (city/highway/combined).

Despite that issue, Ford's clean vehicle sales are on the up. During that sales spike in the past year, the automaker released a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (which had a delayed launch), a hybrid-only C-Max compact crossover, a Fusion Hybrid midsize sedan, and plug-in versions of the C-Max and Fusion. 

The report noted that Ford's electric and hybrid vehicles are certainly in high demand. Its three hybrids spend 28 days or less on dealer lots, and the Fusion and MKZ Hybrids stay less than three weeks.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid
While Ford has made a lot of progress over the last year, the automaker still has a ways to go before it surpasses its electric/hybrid rival Toyota. The Toyota Prius still stands at the top of the green car rankings.

For some comparison, Ford sold 61,306 electric/hybrid vehicles for 2013 through August, and Toyota sold more than 236,000 (not just Prius'). 

However, Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada recently said the company wants to pass over electric vehicles in favor of more hybrid releases and a stronger focus on upcoming hydrogen fuel cell technology. Toyota apparently doesn't see a market for EVs, and thinks they need at least two major battery breakthroughs before they can replace hybrids or gasoline-powered cars. 

Back in August, Toyota revealed that it would release 15 new hybrids by 2015.

Toyota is focused on its next-generation Prius, which is expected to have better batteries with higher energy density. The company said it's using nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion where necessary and even upped its research on new battery technologies like solid state and lithium air as well as magnesium. The Prius will also feature smaller electric motors; thermal efficiency of the gasoline engine will be boosted from 38.5 percent in current models to 40 percent in the next-generation; the use of Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) will allow for a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity, and better aerodynamics will offer an all-new exterior design.

Ford isn't too worried about Toyota's latest efforts, though. C.J. O’Donnell, Ford’s group marketing manager of electrified vehicles, recently said that people prefer green Ford vehicles like the C-Max and Fusion because they "don't look like a Prius." In other words, Ford feels it has Toyota beat when it comes to design. 

Source: The Detroit News

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