Ford is planning on expanding their range of hybrid vehicles beyond the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs, but the automaker is having engineering issues with a new generation of rechargeable electric cars.
The head of Ford hybrid and “sustainable” vehicle programs, Nancy Gioia has stated that the automaker does have more full hybrids in the works.
Due to declining market share, Ford hasn’t been able to meet its sales targets for hybrids and has since been criticized for losing its momentum in the race for alternative powered vehicles.
The next hurdle is for Ford to engineer a plug-in vehicle. Environmentalists have been pressuring automakers to release “plug-in” vehicles that would be capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances and being able to be recharged at a standard electrical outlet. Ford sees many engineering problems that they will have to overcome before one of these cars can be introduced. Gioia states that the main issue has to do with the battery size of a plug-in vehicle. In order to be able to travel a minimum of 40 miles and with a top speed of 60mph, the battery would have to be two to three times the size of the batteries in current hybrids. This would make the vehicles very heavy and expensive.
These comments are very different from what GM has been saying.
GM is hard at work on a plug-in hybrid car that will use little to no gasoline over short distances. The automaker displayed a concept version of the Chevrolet Volt in January and has set 2010 as the release date.
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