SHANGHAI, China – Ford is revealing its aggressive electrified vehicle plan in China for the first time ever with the Asian debut of the company’s latest electrified vehicles and a plan to have a demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles in the country early next year.
The debut of the Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Hybrid at Auto Shanghai 2011 showcases Ford’s electrified vehicle portfolio, which differentiates itself with an electrification strategy that brings expanded choice to customers and further strengthens the company’s sustainability strategy.
The zero-emissions, fuel-free Focus Electric is Ford’s first all-electric passenger car while the C-MAX Energi leverages Ford's innovative powersplit architecture. The Fusion Hybrid combines the best attributes of the petrol engine and electric battery-driven motors.
All three models exemplify Ford’s wide-ranging electrification strategy that involves three types of electrified vehicles – Battery Electric Vehicle, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Electric Vehicle – to provide consumers with significant fuel economy improvements and reduced CO2 emissions without compromising their driving experience.
To give customers in China the opportunity to come up close with Ford’s electrified vehicles, the company will be making a demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles available in the country later this year. The award-winning Ford Fusion Hybrid will be one of the vehicles in the trial fleet.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to bring some of Ford’s latest electrified vehicles to China for a trial,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s group vice president and president, Asia Pacific and Africa. He is also the chairman and CEO of Ford China.
“With China aiming to go green on the road with new-energy vehicles, the country is the perfect platform to showcase Ford’s advanced technologies in its electrification plan.”
The new electrified products build on its experience and success as America’s top domestic producer of electrified vehicles with 160,000 hybrid products on the road today. Ford has also designed its electric vehicles to provide outstanding fuel efficiency with no compromise on driving enjoyment.
For example, the Fusion Hybrid – also North America’s most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan – won the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award and a place on many best green car lists in the U.S., thanks to its smooth regenerative braking, confident acceleration, a comfortable interior and smart driver information features.
Moreover, electrified vehicles are one part of Ford’s broader strategy to offer a wide range of environmentally friendly transportation solutions – rather than a single vehicle or technology. That strategy is designed to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions affordably for customers around the world.
“We recognise that one technology does not work for all customers – hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles each offer distinctly different advantages,” said Nancy Gioia, director, Global Electrification. “By leveraging our global platforms, we are able to offer a range of solutions as part of a strong product lineup that meets the needs of a variety of customers.”
The lithium-ion advantage
Focus Electric and new hybrid/plug-in hybrid vehicles will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems. Each system is smartly designed to maximise use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Lithium-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride batteries that power today’s hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, making them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration, or to increase energy to extend driving distance.
While Focus Electric customers are likely to recharge the fuel-free vehicle daily, daily charging is also recommended for C-MAX Energi to maximise the use of electric driving mode, but is not necessary for vehicle operation. Thanks to the efficiencies of its battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a standard household power outlet.
Owners of the new Focus Electric and the C-MAX Energi will enjoy advantages when it comes to charging their vehicles.
A full recharge of the Focus Electric is expected to take three to four hours at home with a 240-volt charge station – half the time as the Nissan Leaf. When fully charged, Focus Electric is designed to offer adequate range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of most motorists.
C-MAX Energi will deliver better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt. The C-MAX Energi will achieve more than 800 km of overall driving range using battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. Charging the plug-in hybrid vehicle allows customers to significantly increase their driving in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the onboard petrol engine.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the Focus Electric or C-MAX Energi charge port, which is conveniently located between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
A smarter gauge
Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi will also feature a suite of smart driver information systems – led by a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system – designed to help vehicle owners maximise fuel efficiency, extend electric range, plan the most eco-friendly route and manage the battery recharge process.
The cluster’s new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi.
Focus Electric owners will have access to basic data, such as battery state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding budget and expected range surplus, which are all easily visible on the two 4.2-inch full-colour LCD screens flanking the centrally mounted speedometer.
In Ford’s next-generation hybrids – as in its current hybrids – long-term fuel efficiency is displayed in two ways, either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines, creating a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts.
Similarly, the display in Focus Electric uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more there are, the greater the range. Ford designers were inspired by the phenomenon known as “the butterfly effect”, in which a small change, like choosing to drive an electric vehicle, can have an enormous impact.
“Ford’s electrified vehicles are just one part of a broad commitment to delivering top fuel efficiency with every vehicle and providing affordable technology for millions of customers,” said Gioia. “As customers move to more fuel efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”