Mulally says electric vehicles to dominate Ford's future lineup

Mulally says electric vehicles to dominate Ford's future lineup
Automotive News March 5, 2009 - 3:00 am ET
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. expects electric
vehicles will represent a "major portion" of its lineup a decade from now as the automaker breaks away from a recent reliance on pickup trucks and SUVs, CEO Alan Mulally said.
"In 10 years, 12 years, you are going to see a major portion of our portfolio move to electric vehicles," Mulally said at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, California.
Ford has outlined plans for a range of battery-powered and hybrid vehicles over the next several years but the comments by Mulally represented one of the clearest indications of the automaker's longer-term plans for electric car technology.
Ford was the first U.S. automaker to roll out its own hybrid with the Escape SUV in 2004. But Ford backed away from an ambitious commitment to hybrid development and sales just a year later as its own financial problems deepened.
In recent weeks, the No. 2 U.S. automaker has announced plans to introduce a battery-powered commercial van in 2010, a battery-powered small car the following year and a plug-in hybrid to challenge the Chevy Volt from General Motors starting in 2012.
The stakes are high because Ford's stepped-up investment is coming at a time when the U.S. government is demanding steep increases in fuel economy and has put money forward to help automakers adopt new fuel-saving technologies.
"Ten years is going to come very quickly and I think we'll have a significant
improvement in the fuel efficiency in the internal combustion engine," Mulally said in response to a question about what Ford expected a decade from now.
"You'll see more hybrids, but you will really see a lot more electric vehicles," he said.
Ford just negotiated a new round of concessions from the United Auto Workers for a contract set to expire in 2011 and on Wednesday launched a debt exchange program intended to cut its automotive debt by up to about $10 billion.
Both actions are aimed at cutting costs in response to a collapse in auto sales in the United States and a deepening slowdown in key overseas markets.
Mulally said Ford was committed to shifting away from its recent reliance on light trucks for 60 percent or more of its sales so that more fuel-efficient passenger cars dominate.
"We can now make cars in the United States and we can do it profitably," he said.
The global recession has brought gas prices in the United States down sharply from peak levels of last summer, but Mulally said Ford was building a strategy around longer-term energy scarcity.
"Over time, we are going to see ever-increasing prices for energy," he said.
Ford, which has been lauded for recent quality advances, has tried to position itself as a competitor with Japanese imports in the U.S. car market and distance itself from its ailing cross-town rivals GM and Chrysler LLC.
Mulally, who testified last year before Congress when Ford was seeking a $9-billion letter of credit, said again that the automaker could complete its restructuring without government aid.
"We went to Washington to help GM and Chrysler, we didn't need the money," he said.
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Toyota, Ford, via Volvo,and a Japanese electric company developed the technology used in the first hybrids and they were all cross licensed to us it. Toyota was smart when it offered its hybrid as a separate vehicle, rather then offering the drive system in a current model.
Prospective Toyotas hybrid buyers did not make the connect to Toyotas other vehicle of the same size, the Corolla. By doing so Toyota had the opportunity to get buyers to pay the extra premium to buy a hybrid. A premium that would buy ALL of the fuel for the conventional powered twins for three of four years, before one saved a dime on the difference in fuel usage.
Honda and Ford offered their hybrid drive in current vehicles, the Civic Accord and the Escape. Adding that premium to a conversional model, made it harder for Honda and Ford to sell their hybrids because it was obvious to the astute buyer that the premium that would buy ALL of the fuel for the conventional powered twins for three of four years, before they would save a dime on the difference in fuel usage.. When fuel priced dropped to two dollars, sales went into the dumper for all them but not as great for the Pruis, but even it sales dropped 50%
In my opinion GMs hybrids, using motors built into the tranny, is a far better way of utilizing the eclectic traction, in a less complicated way, then with a separate electric motor.
Ford in spot on, in the not too distant future hybrids will go away, pure electrics like the Volt will be the norm but gas and diesel engines will not go away for certain types of vehicles

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Mike, I question whether Ford's hybrid technology came from Volvo. The first Ford hybrid patents were filed six years before Volvo was acquired. I've never heard anything internally that indicates that it did either. Can you be more specific?
Derek
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Obviously when Ford acquired Volvo they acquired their patents as well

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True, but there are no US Volvo hybrid patents before the year 2000. Ford has about many more patents than Volvo does. I do not believe that Ford's hybrid technology was Volvo derived. I'm told the new technology invented for the Fusion hybrid doesn't use the cross-licensed Toyota patents either.
Derek

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You are free to believe whatever you choose but what I posted was factual. Toyota and Ford are licensed to the all of the patent rights that resulted from that joint venture.
IF you choose you can search the various patents on the US Patent Office site

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On Tue, 10 Mar 2009 18:29:45 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

What do you mean by the Volt being "pure electric"? GM calls it an extended range electric. It has an on board generator so if you drive so far that the batteries are exhausted you can keep going because teh generator will fire up. I do think the Volt is the car of the future for many people, esp those who only have one vehicle.
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The only thing motivating the vehicle is an electric motor. The gas engine, as you point out runs a generator, it does not motivate the vehicle
wrote:

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Ok, I understand that way of looking at it. I was looking at it like a locomotive. A pure electric loco pulls it's electric off the grid. A diesel-electric is like the volt, it has traction motors and a generator that is spun by a diesel engine. But no one would ever call a diesel-electric loco a "pure electric".
On Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:19:14 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

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That is because you have the mistaken impression that the motor can produce enough power to run the electric motor. That is not the case, it can only recharge the batteries over time. If one plugs into a power outlet to recharge the batteries the gas engine will never have to start up to recharge the batteries. The Volt is therefore a true electric vehicle
wrote:

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Hmm, that's not how I read the description of the Volt. It supposedly runs for 40 miles on just the batteries. Then the motor/generator kicks in if you go farther then that to power the car. The description I read specifically said that the purpose of the mot/gen was not to recharge the batteries. the only difference I see between the Volt and a DE Loco is that the loco has no batteries to run off of for the first 40 miles, other then that they appear to be essentially the same.
On Fri, 13 Mar 2009 14:27:47 -0400, "Mike Hunter"

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You are entitle to believe what ever you wish no matter how convoluted your reasoning.
wrote:

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Mike Hunter-fount of all human wisdom.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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