Ford Plugs Electric Cars
Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford says 25 percent of the company's vehicles will be electric by 2020.
About 25 percent of Ford Motor Co.'s fleet will be electrified by 2020, Chairman Bill Ford wrote in an article for Fortune magazine, published online on Tuesday.
With global oil prices rising and more congestion on the roads, Ford wrote that it is critical for the automakers to build smarter and cleaner-running cars that people will want to drive.
"For the first time in more than a century, some of the most fundamental and enduring elements of the automobile are being radically transformed," Ford wrote.
The company is "hedging its bets" by developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, Ford wrote, because he isn't sure which technology ultimately will prevail.
Ford Motor Co. will introduce its fully electric Focus along with two versions — plug-in hybrid and fully electric — of its new C-MaxX small minivan this year. Late last year, General Motors introduced the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Motor Co. launched the electric Leaf.
Ford wrote that the key to the budding electric car market is the lithium-ion battery. Asia has the lead in developing these batteries, Ford wrote, adding that the U.S. government should aid in building the American battery industry.
"I think it's a matter of national security to have a competitive American battery industry," Ford wrote. "Washington should increase r&d spending here unless they want to cede the development of batteries to other nations."
Congestion is another key issue, Ford wrote: "A green traffic jam is still a traffic jam."
In response, Ford and other automakers are developing vehicle-to-vehicle communications that will alert drivers to traffic and potentially dangerous situations, and help them find parking spots in crowded cities.
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The auto industry should look at standardizing the battery packs used in electric cars and make them where they could be easily swapped out. Battery exchange stations could be set up, and the discharged batteries could be recharged -- ready to swap into the next car. If the battery door was, say on the bottom of the car, the driver would just pull over a pit like they have in the oil change places. Because the batteries are so heavy, a robot in the pit would open the door, take out the old battery, carry it to the charger, pick up the charged battery, put it in the car, and close the battery door. The whole process would probably take about as much time as filling the tank of a conventional car with gasoline. However, in the short term, I support making internal combustion engines run on compressed natural gas, and installing CNG stations at exisiting filling stations. The engines we have now would not require too much modification to burn CNG, and the infrastructure to deliver the natural gas is already in place in every town in America. At least it would get us off the foreign oil teat.
And cost of repairs on a hybrid or electric campared to a gas vehicle is staggering@automotive man: When GM experimented with electric cars, repair and maintenance costs actually decreased because there were no oil changes, tuneups, etc. When the test was over, GM literally had to pry the cars away from the owners (in this case, leasees) because they liked them so much. If you get the chance, watch the documentary, "Who Killed The Electric Car?" The electric motor is a much simpler way to get the wheels turning than the suck-bang-blow of internal combustion engines. As to the driving range, most people use their cars to get to work and back. That 100 miles per charge should be enough to get most people to and from their jobs. Yes, it would increase the electric bill -- some estimates put the amout as high was 50% -- but that money would be recouped by not having to buy fuel. I don't know about you, but my gasoline bill is a lot more than my electric bill.
umm... couldnt they just make removable, standardized battery packs?
like propane tanks?
just pull in to a fuel station and trade your empty for a full one?
or does making it that easy take all the fun out of it.
@Hollywood Ron: I have a degree in mechanical engineering and worked for one of the major car companies in drivetrain development. I can assure you that if you knew the simple laws of physics you would see the error in your logic. Does the law of conservation of energy and mass ring a bell? Its easy. If you sum up the amount of energy you use on your daily drive, that is (at best at 100% efficiency which is not possible) the least amount of energy you need to refill your vehicle with to replenish that energy you spent. Be it gasoline, electricity, diesel, etc... it doesn't matter, its all an energy balance. If you talk to any engineers with advanced degrees and experts in their fields, they would be insulted that you would think if it was that easy they wouldn't have already thought of that.
Another thing to keep in mind, this is all math btw... if it takes 8 hours to charge a battery on a standard wall outlet (120VAC) then you can figure out how long it would take on a larger outlet as well if we are limitet on the charge current allowed. So if you double the voltage (240VAC is standard on homes, 480VAC is industrial mostly) then it would still have to take 4 hours to charge the batteries to the same level. Simple formula, P=IV. Power equals voltage x current.
I am on board with saving fuel and alternative energy sources as are every other engineer designing the cars we use today. Trust me, we are trying. If we could give you a car that got double the fuel mileage we would, knowing we would sell them so fast we would be the dominant auto manufacturer over-night. The best minds on the planet are working on things with the best technology around.
If you want to do your part in saving the planet at the moment... buy a fuel efficient little car with no power locks, windows, and a manual transmission. Those are the best for the environment right now until we can come up with something that is truly better in all aspects. That day will come but right now, a good compact car with no options and good fuel economy is the best bet.
Remember there is no such thing as free energy. If there were, it would be a perpetual motion machine.
I like Warcat's idea. Another would be cars that could recharge about 75% within 1/2 hr, and go at least 150 miles on a charge. Tesla is already getting the range. Next universal charging stations. These could be at expressway rest stops, parking meters, restaurants, malls etc. Say you are running from Indy to Daytona on vacation. Stopping every couple of hours at a rest stop would not be unusual, pull up to the charging station, plug in, insert credit card, got to the rest room, walk a bit, etc. You'd come back to a charged car, the state makes a bit to offset the lost gas taxes. Or stop at a Cracker Barrel, enjoy a meal while your vehicle recharges. CB makes a buck. Either way you get recharged, and drive time would not be that much more. If there is a buck to be made, charging stations would be everywhere.
Right now the USPS could convert most of their fleet of delivery vehicles to CNG. Most post offices that the carriers park at have NG, so why not put in the equipment to refuel the vehicles at night. Alternatively use Propane We have had that technology for 50 or more years. These vehicles can use gas as a back up fuel.