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The 2012 Ford Focus PHEV will be Ford's first plug-in electric.  (Source: Ford via Autoblog)

Ford is focusing on the C platform that the Focus is a member of, as it comprised nearly half the company's sales last year.  (Source: AutoBlog)
Numbers include hybrid vehicles, represent ambitious commitment from Ford

General Motors and Nissan may have a year head start on Ford Motor Company with their 2011 Chevy Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, but Ford has some big EV plans of its own.  

As it prepares to launch its first full mass-market EV next year -- a plug-in Ford Focus -- Ford has its eyes set on a large-scale rollout.  By 2015, Ford hopes to have "electrified" vehicles -- hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and battery-electric vehicles (BEV; aka "all electric" vehicles) -- make up 2-5 percent of its total sales.  This is an ambitious but seemingly achievable goal -- the company currently has about 1 percent of its sales consist of electrified vehicles (hybrids).

The company's target for 2020 is much bolder; it say that it wants to boost this number to 10 to 25 percent.  It plans on roughly 70 percent of those being hybrids, with the remainder being plug-in electrics and fuel cell vehicles.

Key to these efforts is to perfect hybrid, pure electric, and fuel cell systems for the C platform.  This platform is Ford's largest, selling approximately 2 million of the 4.817 million units that Ford sold last year.  Ford has over 12 different body styles -- including the Focus, Transit Connect, C-Max, S-Max, and others -- which serve as "hats" to the underlying C platform.

Ford's director of global electrification, Nancy Gioia states, "During this volatile period, by utilizing our highest volume platforms, by having common parts between hybrids and plug in hybrids we are doing the most to make this as affordable as possible during a very dynamic time."

This approach not only saves Ford money in production costs, but it should also help the company obtain its electric vision.  Ford will need those savings -- it plans on complete four generations worth of batteries within the next ten years. 

Gioia says that Ford is incredible committed and focused on its electric efforts.  She comments, "There must be a national and actually global constancy of purpose on this journey. We are on a marathon, a 50-year journey, we are not on a 3-5 year journey. This takes an enormous amount of staying power."

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RE: Batteries expense still a problem
By Briliu on 8/3/2010 8:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
But still a greater expense than not buying a new car...

As he said, his car is 8 years old, he would have had to replace the battery set before the 8 year mark (speculation), thus making the electric/hybrid significantly more expensive to own based on maintenance costs only.

RE: Batteries expense still a problem
By marvdmartian on 8/3/2010 9:31:01 AM , Rating: 4
This is why I keep thinking that the car manufacturers need to get together, and design easily changeable battery packs for these all-electric and hybrid vehicles. Imagine how much the cost would go down, and how much more popular the cars might be, if people knew that they could be on a trip, stop by a local battery exchange place, receive a freshly charged battery in exchange for their depleted one, and pay a reasonable fee for the convenience.

Instead, we have all these auto manufacturers, and each one of them has their own battery packs, that you can only get through them. Perhaps by the time these packs need to be changed out, there will be OEM matching manufacturers, or companies that take batteries out of wrecked vehicles and recondition them, but having maybe a half dozen varieties of batteries would sure simplify things for the end consumer, imho.

Of course, when's the last time the automotive manufacturers cared about simplifying things for the consumer? (eye roll)

By knutjb on 8/3/2010 3:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, when's the last time the automotive manufacturers cared about simplifying things for the consumer? (eye roll)
Ford has been working to standardize battery design so they can have one battery type to use on all of its vehicles. Also their production lines and vehicles, like the Focus, are being setup so they use the same platform and can produce a gas only, hybrid, and electric only one after the other without stopping. This will significantly improve reaction times to market demands and lower consumer costs due to parts commonality.

The other cars from GM and Nissan are unique platforms that are monolithic in design and production.

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