Monday, January 12, 2009

Ford Announces Accelerated Plans For New HEV's, PHEV's and BEV's

Bill Ford, Ford's Executive Chairman, used the Detroit Auto Show to unveil their aggressive plans for bringing green autos to market. They will have two new battery electric vehicles (BEV's) as well as plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and next generation hybrid vehicles. Their plan is almost as robust Chrysler's. I really look forward to seeing these vehicles in the showrooms.

From Green Car Congress:

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford unveiled an accelerated plan to bring next-generation hybrid-electric (HEV); a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV); and battery-electric (BEV) vehicles to market quickly and more affordably during the next four years.

The plan, unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, leverages Ford’s work with a range of partners—utilities, suppliers, policymakers and universities—in areas including batteries, manufacturing and infrastructure. For starters, Ford will introduce in North America:

  • A new battery electric commercial van in 2010. In the UK, Ford is collaborating with Tanfield to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the UK and European markets. (Earlier post.)

  • A new battery electric small car in 2011 to be developed jointly with Magna International. The electric powertrain will be applied in a new-generation C-sized global vehicle platform. The BEV will first be introduced in North America, with the potential to migrate to the European and Asia Pacific markets down the road.

    Ford plans to introduce electrified powertrains (battery electric or plug-in hybrid) into two major new global product platforms: a new Focus-size C-car platform and another Fusion-size, CD segment platform. By 2012, Bill Ford said, the company will have four high-mileage BEVs. (The likely development direction for BEVs is to move onto smaller platforms—e.g., down to a B-size platform—from the C-size, according to Barb Samardzich, Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering.)

  • Next-generation hybrid vehicles, including a plug-in version by 2012.

New BEV by 2011. Ford is collaborating with Magna International on the new battery electric vehicle targeted for 2011. Magna will provide the BEV electric traction motor, transmission, motor controller, Lithium-ion energy storage system, battery charger and related systems. Magna will also share in the engineering responsibility to integrate the electric propulsion system and other new systems into the vehicle platform architecture.

The BEV technology is already applied in a Ford Focus mule that has been in road testing for the past six months.

The 23 kWh battery pack comprises seven modules of 14 lithium-ion cells. The battery arrays are packaged in the vehicle trunk and underseat space. The new electric vehicle has a targeted pack range of up to 100 miles on a single charge. The system currently under test in the mule is delivering 80 miles on a single charge. The BEV test vehicle can be charged from either a standard 220-volt or 110-volt power outlet, with respective charge times of 6 or 12 hours.

A motor controller and inverter convert the battery’s direct current to AC. A 100 kW permanent-magnet, chassis-mounted electric traction motor operates on three-phase alternating current (AC). The BEV uses a single-speed transmission.

The powertrain, including the motor and gearbox, are packaged under the hood just like a gasoline powertrain, using existing powertrain mounts. This makes the electrified vehicle uncompromised in terms of robustness and low noise and vibration.

The test unit incorporates key components from Ford’s hybrid technology, including the electric climate control system. The high-voltage air-conditioning compressor is the same found in the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

In October 2008, Magna Electronics, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., acquired BluWav Systems LLC (formerly Wavecrest Laboratories), a developer and supplier of controls, motors and energy-management systems for hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)

BluWav had concentrated on five main product areas: Motor design; Motor control hardware, software, and drive electronics; Vehicle requirements analysis, system optimization, and performance validation; Vehicle control systems; and Energy storage systems.

Grants and Partnerships. The US Department of Energy (DOE) also has awarded Ford Motor Company a $10 million grant for research, development and demonstration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Ford received the grant for the continued development of a demonstration fleet of 20 PHEVs. The total project cost is $20 million; the government will fund $10 million of the program.

In June, Ford delivered the first flexible fuel capable plug-in hybrid electric SUV to the Department of Energy. (Earlier post.) The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, capable of running on gasoline or E85, is part of the demonstration fleet Ford is developing in partnership with Southern California Edison, the Electric Power Research Institute and Johnson Controls-Saft.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is collaborating with Ford Motor Company on a three-year analysis to evaluate technical approaches for integrating PHEVs into the nation’s electric grid system, a key requirement to facilitate widespread adoption of the vehicles.

Ford also has entered into a four-way “Eco-Partnership” in China to expand its global expertise with electric-powered vehicles. Ford, Changan Auto Group and the cities of Chongqing, China and Denver, Colo., are exploring ways to develop projects to help further energy security and promote economic and environmental sustainability. Areas of focus could include developing electrified vehicle technologies, green city planning, efficient urban transportation and grid integration.

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