Transportation & Fuel Source Technology
Ford Shows Off Alternative Powertrain Portfolio at the 2006 Bibendum Challenge
Which fuels and powertrains will we see in cars of the future? An insight into Ford's latest developments and potential future technologies can be seen in Paris at the 2006 "Bibendum Challenge".
The busy French capital is the venue for this, the world's biggest annual environmental car rally, which starts on June 11. Ford of Europe will present a range of environmentally advanced vehicles which is believed to be one of the broadest at the event - and all are equipped and powered by exciting and alternative new powertrains and fuels.
The technologies presented by Ford of Europe range from environmentally friendly products already available in selected markets, through to midterm and longterm potential alternatives. The Ford portfolio embraces two bio-ethanol-powered Focus Flexi Fuel vehicles (FFVs), a Ford Escape Full Hybrid from the United States, a Fiesta Micro Hybrid prototype and a hydrogen-powered Ford Focus Fuel Cell Hybrid (FCEV).
This extensive portfolio demonstrates Ford's commitment, expertise and leading role in working to make future mobility more sustainable.
Market Leading Ford FFVs
The Ford Focus Flexi Fuel (FFV) represents an affordable technology that is already available to buy, and that has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Ford of Europe is the market leader for FFVs in Europe. To date, approximately 22,000 Ford FFVs have been sold in Sweden, the first European market where Ford introduced FFVs in 2001.
Ford of Europe's latest FFV range includes the latest Focus and Focus C-MAX models, with one or both being on sale now in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, France and Spain, with other markets to come.
Ford FFVs are capable of running on a blend of E85 (85% bio-ethanol and 15% petrol), petrol only, or any mix of both. The use of bio-ethanol, in combination with FFV technology, can lead to a 70 percent reduction in overall CO2 emissions compared to a traditional petrol engine.
Different levels of hybridisation will help to optimize the efficiency of both gasoline and diesel engines. However, vehicle fuel efficiency is also dependant on vehicle usage and local driving conditions.
The Ford Escape Hybrid was successfully introduced in the United States in 2004, and was the world's first production Hybrid SUV. Over 25,000 of these non-compromise gasoline-full hybrid vehicles have been sold there to date, and in 2008, Ford will add two more hybrids, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, bringing its total number of hybrids to five (Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2007, Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid, 2008)."
In contrast to the US, here in Europe the diesel market is already well established, and state-of-the-art diesel technology offers cost and fuel consumption benefits for the customer that are comparable to those of gasoline hybrids.
This is one reason why "micro hybrid" technology seems better suited to the European driving environment in delivering a valuable contribution to improved fuel efficiency at reasonable and affordable costs.
Micro Hybrids rely on advanced stop/start systems in combination with regenerative braking. Ford engineers at the company's Aachen Research Centre have developed a Fiesta Gasoline Micro Hybrid demonstrator plus the 'HyTrans' - a Diesel Micro Hybrid fitted into Ford's iconic Transit commercial vehicle. Prototypes of both projects can be seen at the rally, with the HyTrans presented by Valeo, one of Ford's hybrid cooperation partners.
Fuel Cell Technology
The Ford Focus Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle participating in the Bibendum rally represents Ford's fifth generation of fuel cell vehicles. This model has successfully advanced from the prototype stage to become a small volume production car and is currently operating in fleet programs around the world, including the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) in Berlin, Germany.
The major challenges to bring this technology to market predominantly lie in the development of a suitable infrastructure and environmentally friendly, high volume production of hydrogen, storage technologies, costs and durability.
Hydrogen powered Internal Combustion Engine
In addition to the alternative technologies demonstrated at the Bibendum Rally, Engineers from Ford's European Research and Advanced Engineering Team are also working on a range of other environmentally advanced technologies, including a prototype internal combustion engine (H2 ICE) to analyze its technical and environmental potential.
In pursuing the goal of sustainable mobility, Ford regards this technology as an important step towards a "hydrogen" future where even more energy-efficient fuel cell technology might be the ultimate solution.
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