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Ford to Offer Choice of Three Electrified Vehicles in European Dealerships by 2014. By BRIAN FOLEY

Ford Motor Company will offer a choice of three distinct electric vehicles in its European showrooms by 2014 Coming next year will be the new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and the Mondeo Hybrid. They will join the Ford Focus Electric, a zero emission battery electric vehicle built in Saarlouis, Germany, which will arrive in Ireland in early 2014. To date sales of EVs in Ireland are patherically low, with less that 50 sold in the first eight months of this year. The arrival of EVs from one of the big players, ie Ford, might make a big difference, depending on two big factors - price and driving range between charges. To date the high cost of EVs and low range have been a big negative factor, whilst the Renault policy of a montly rental charge for the battery is an absolute 'no no' as far as Irish motorists are concerned.

“Ford is leveraging our global experience and expertise to roll-out a range of electrified vehicles that offers a wide and compelling power of choice,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “European customers care deeply about the environment and are increasingly seeing electrified vehicles as a way of balancing those concerns with a commitment to car ownership.”

Ford is the manufacturer of the second-highest number of hybrid vehicles in the world and the company’s share of the electrified vehicle market has quadrupled in the past year in the U.S., where Ford recently announced electrified vehicle sales of about 46,000 units this year through June – more than 400 per cent increase compared with a year ago.

Ford’s line-up of electrified vehicles will include:
• Focus Electric which features an advanced electric motor and lithium-ion battery powertrain that produces 142 PS, achieves a top speed of 137 km/h and has a driving range of 162 km. The 6.6 kW fully integrated on board charger can charge the 23 kWh liquid cooled lithium-ion battery pack in 3-4 hours, when plugged to 32 amp grid connection*.
• C-MAX Energi which is Ford’s first production plug-in hybrid and combines hybrid electric technology with a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery. It is targeted to provide CO2 emissions below 50 g/km and to run in pure electric mode for more than 30 km. Connected to a charging station it can be fully recharged in less than 3 hours.
• Fusion Hybrid which combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery, and is capable of driving up to 136 km/h (85 mph) on electric power alone. The combustion engine takes over for higher-demand operation and charges the battery, while electric power is used for vehicle launch and lower speeds. Fusion Hybrid will come to Europe as the Mondeo Hybrid and is targeted to reach fuel economy below 4.5 l/100 km and CO2 emissions below 99 g/km.

A Ford -sponsored poll shows most Europeans are concerned about the environment and believe the biggest problem facing the world today is climate change. However, the survey of 6,000 people across Europe also found many people are unsure of how to lead a greener lifestyle, that most are committed to car ownership, and that the overwhelming majority see electrified vehicles as better for the environment.

Ford commissioned the poll conducted by “The Futures Company,”*** a leading consultancy, to better understand public opinion and attitudes on a range of mobility issues and found:
• 72 per cent believe electrified vehicles are better for the environment
• 54 per cent believe climate change is the single biggest problem facing the world today
• 52 per cent say that their life would be impossible without their car
• 38 per cent are unsure of how to lead a more environmentally conscious lifestyle
• 28 per cent would consider buying a vehicle with an electrified powertrain
• 23 per cent want to change their future travel behaviour to be greener

Ford first produced an electrified vehicle exactly 100 years ago when the company built a non-production electrified version of the Ford Model T. The joint project between Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford and inventor Thomas Edison to create a “cheap and practicable… electric automobile” was hampered by the limited battery technology of the time.

* Charging time will vary according to vehicle usage and environmental conditions. Approximate charge times based on external factors including driving style, accessory loading, battery state of charge and temperature. Charging times will vary according to the electrical grid connection available. The stated electric driving ranges are measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 as last amended, and regulation UN-ECE 101 latest status. The results may differ from energy/fuel economy results in other regions of the world due to the different drive cycles and regulations used in those markets.

** The stated fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 as last amended. Results in MPG also correspond to this European drive cycle and are stated in imperial gallons. The results may differ from fuel economy figures in other regions of the world due to the different drive cycles and regulations used in those markets

*** Survey carried out by The Futures Company, between July and August 2012. 6,028 people were questioned across six European countries; Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and U.K.