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Ford: Plug-in hybrids must become 'a national priority'


Ford: Plug-in hybrids must become 'a national priority'

Ford: Plug-in hybrids must become 'a national priority'

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Ford sees the survival of the American car industry resting on the backs of advanced hybrid and battery technologies, and has called on the government to make their advancement ‘a national priority.’ The comments came from Ford’s president of the Americas, Mark Fields, who told reporters attending a conference on plug-in hybrid technology in Washington today that other governments around the world, including Japan, China, Korea, and India, are all heavily funding the research, development and deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Unlike Toyota and GM, which hope to deliver plug-in hybrids by the end of the decade, Ford is taking a more cautionary approach and doesn’t expect to launch such a vehicle for another five to ten years, reports The Detroit News.

Fields points out that for the U.S. industry to be successful, it cannot rely on batteries and other electric powertrain components imported from overseas. "Moving from imported oil to imported batteries clearly would not address this growing concern," Fields explained.

Ford is calling on the government to introduce tax breaks for plug-in hybrids as well as a $500 million fund for advanced battery research. Both options have been considered by the government but no green light has been given.

The announcement has coincided with Toyota’s promise to have its first plug-in hybrid vehicle on the market by 2010.
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Comments (10)
  1. So I'll ask it again, where do the millions of people, who live in highly congested areas, plug in?
    Most people I know in the greater Los Angeles area park in community garages and parking lots or on the street.
    So I guess you have to own a house for this to work...
     
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  2. You mean own a house everywhere. like they are your pit stop or recharging stations.
    It will all come together. Hopefully.
     
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  3. Plug-in, because electricity is free and magic.

    Stupid.
     
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  4. I envision property managers in corporate office parks and private garages for condos/apartments installing "Pay-to-Charge" equipment that is leased from the utility companies. If done right, this could be a point of sale payment program where you pay with your credit card, or have it billed to your home/apartment electric bill.
    What has me scratching my head is how little negative press has been generated concerning this technology. Ethonal fuels have shown that they can hurt food supplies when the crops are diverted to create fuel instead being used as food. Why has there not been a deep dive story to determine what kind on electricity demand would really be placed on our utilities if plug-ins go to critical mass?
     
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  5. My guess is that this will take off soo slowly that electric generation will be able to ramp up at the same pace. Particularly since these vehicles will be plugged in at night, when there isn't much drain on the grid.
    The problem wil be if they are plugged in right as someone gets home (say 6pm) and then the really power demand spike hits when people get home and turn all their lights and TV and stove on. Simple solution: have the car know what time it is, and not start charging itself until after 10pm when demand falls drastically.
     
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  6. FORD SHOULD START MAKING ALL THEIR ESCAPE HYBRIDS UPGRADEABLE..MAKE ROOM FOR NEWER BATTERY'S WHEN THEY ARE READY FOR SALE. IT WOULD BE NICE TO BUYS TO DAYS FORD'S ESCAPE WITH THE IDEAS THAT NEXT YEAR THEY WILL BECOME A PLUG IN TYPE
     
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  7. It would be nice to be able to drive into "a gas station" and get a recharged battery just like one does for a propane tank
     
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  8. Agreed.
    They are playing with the idea of fuel stations that can swap packs instead of charging the car.
     
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  9. I like the idea of standardization of the battery systems. I think you'll see that first with GM.. They'll make Lith for the volt, and then make a compatible NMH batteries, and maybe future battery tech to be backwards compatible. if you bought a laptop 2 years ago, you're almost certainly able to buy a battery for it today that can double the original capacity.

    fast charge stations are definitely possible, and would be much easier to build than a "gas" station. 3 phase power is everywhere and these batteries would be able to take it very easily, like the difference between "trickle" charge and "quick" charge on those hardware store car battery chargers.

    I think that most people who do not have access to a legitimate parking spot, such as in a driveway, or a condo parking garage, or something like that, wouldnt really be in the market for a hybrid car anyways. these people will be parking in municipal lots, or on the street, and for the amount of driving they do, i doubt there would be much point. this stuff is more for the commuters. the market will still be huge.

    Gus; as far as demand of electricity, in the next couple years you're going to see the use of "smart" meters on houses. the old style meters are being replaced for "smart" meters that can control power consumption remotely during peak times. now, thats going to scare every american on this board, i know that for sure, but what it also allows is for huge amounts of usage data to be accessed by the power company, and you'll find within 10 years or so, you wont have a yearly rate, or even a monthly rate. The way the power industry works is that every HOUR, dependant on market conditions (supply and demand), the state or provincial authorities will set a "sell" and "buy" price. I know this because I've worked in power plants that only run during peak periods when the market conditions are the most favourable (ie, peak consumption times when the power companies NEED more power, and will pay what ever they have to to get it). With the use of smart meters, the market conditions will be applied to your electric bill, and people will have incentive to plug in their Volts through a timed outlet switch that only turns on during the night, or when the smart meter says that electricity is the cheapest.

    ...about the smart meters, depending on laws in your area, the smart meter may be able to do things such as adjust your thermostat by as much as 3 degrees during peak usage times (don't worry, it wont happen all the time, because the company has to pay a fine every time they use the control).
     
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  10. What? Five to ten years? By then all the foreign auto makers will bury you, Ford! Where
    have you been? Move out with a crash program to beat out the competition. You have a max of 2-3 years to get a Plug In on the market and you know it. Get with the program. Where is your Marketing? Give us what we want and truly deserve and you'll thrive again!
     
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