DEARBORN - By the end of 2012, Ford will deliver five new electrified vehicles in North America. The Transit Connect Electric small commercial van is on sale and Ford recently started taking customer orders for the all-new Focus Electric, with production beginning later this year.
Next year, Ford will launch the all new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles, and a yet-to-be-announced second next-generation hybrid vehicle.
What makes Ford’s electrification approach different from that of its competitors is that it is built on offering customers the power of choice, says Wesley Liu, group marketing manager, Electrification Vehicles.
“Customers don’t want a one-sizefits- all solution,” said Liu. “Providing a diverse range of electrified vehicles allows us to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.”
Ford Focus Electric
For customers who drive mostly in the city within ranges that are not too long, the Focus Electric is an ideal choice, says Liu.
“The Focus Electric is a pure electric vehicle. It doesn’t create any emissions and it provides a 70- to 100-mile driving range,” said Liu. “That is more than sufficient for everyday errands and driving needs within the city.” Liu says the Focus Electric offers significant advantages over its main competitor in the marketplace, the Nissan Leaf.
“The Focus Electric is based off our highest-volume global vehicle platform so the quality and driving heritage of the vehicle have already been proven. It is a real car experience, unlike the Nissan Leaf, which features a unique platform and top hat.”
The Focus Electric also fully charges in half the time it takes the Nissan Leaf using the 240V outlet and offers a consumer experience powered by Microsoft® called value charging to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, which lowers the cost of ownership.
And Focus Electric owners can stay connected, monitor and control their vehicle via their smartphone or secure website using the unique new MyFord Mobile technology, which enables users to plan trips, monitor the vehicle’s state of charge and receive various alerts for vehicle charging.
“Electric vehicle customers want to be informed and in control of their vehicle at all times, especially when they’re away from the vehicle,” said Liu.
For consumers who want another fuel-efficient option, Ford will soon offer the C-MAX Hybrid multiactivity vehicle.
“If a customer does a lot of mixed highway-city driving, the C-MAX Hybrid will be a great option,” said Liu. “Our next-generation hybrid will deliver a more than 25 percent improvement in fuel economy versus the outgoing Escape Hybrid while still offering hybrid customers the five-passenger capability they expect.”
The C-MAX Hybrid is expected to deliver better fuel efficiency than Fusion Hybrid and features the first hybrid transmission and lithium-ion battery system Ford is building in-house. Its main competitor will be the Toyota Prius, which uses a nickel-metal hydride battery.
“The new lithium-ion battery in the C-MAX Hybrid is 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickelmetal hydride batteries, which provides more driving range and boosts fuel economy,” said Liu.
C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid
For those customers who want to “plus up” their hybrid experience, wanting to achieve even better fuel economy and reduced emissions, Ford will soon offer the five-passenger C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. The C-MAX Energi will be a good choice for people who drive in the city or make short trips on an everyday basis, but still want the ability to go on longer trips when desired.
“With the Ford C-MAX Energi you can drive a greater range in pure electric mode than a hybrid, but if you want to drive from Detroit to Chicago over the weekend you will be able to do that using a combination of the battery and internal combustion engine,” explained Liu.
When it is launched, the C-MAX Energi will compete against the Chevrolet Volt.
“One advantage we will have over the Volt is that the C-MAX Energi is a five-passenger vehicle,” said Liu. “The Volt is a four-passenger vehicle.”
In addition, the C-MAX Energi is targeting more than 500 miles of total driving range using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle, including the Volt which has a driving range of about 400 miles.
Charging time also is expected to be faster than the Volt. The C-MAX Energi will conveniently fully recharge overnight on a standard 120V outlet.
While Chevrolet has an OnStar RemoteLink™ mobile application for the Volt, Liu says MyFord Mobile will offer more.
“The MyFord Mobile app has an exclusive MapQuest-driven assessment of range capability, which helps the customer determine if the vehicle has enough power to reach the intended destinations,” he said. “In addition, Microsoft-powered value charging provides the customer the ability to easily program charging to automatically take place at the most cost-effective time.”