Ford Motor Co. will unveil a battery- powered version of its Focus small car on Jan. 7 in an attempt to grab some of the publicity rivals General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are getting from their electric models.
Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally will introduce the Focus Electric as he delivers the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and Executive Chairman Bill Ford will reveal the car at a ceremony in New York.
“The message we are sending in New York and Las Vegas is simple: Ford is serious about electrified vehicles as part of our plan to make fuel economy affordable,” Derrick Kuzak, product development chief, said today. “The new Focus Electric is the company’s first global electric production car and one of a family of five electrified vehicles coming from Ford in the U.S. by 2012 and in Europe by 2013.”
Ford, the first U.S. automaker to sell a hybrid, will introduce its electric car after Nissan’s battery-powered Leaf and GM’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in debuted last year. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford also will be introducing new hybrid models at next week’s Detroit auto show.
“Ford is offering consumers the power of choice and an ownership experience designed specifically to make it easier for customers to enjoy their electrified vehicles and maximize the energy-saving benefits,” Kuzak said.
Models such as the Focus Electric and Escape hybrid sport- utility vehicle will be 10 percent to 25 percent of its worldwide fleet in 2020 as governments mandate higher fuel efficiency, Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification, said last year.
Automakers are developing models powered all or in part by electricity to meet standards such as the U.S. rules for average
fuel economy by company of 35.5 mpg in 2016, up from 25 mpg now.
Ford now sells three hybrid models -- the Escape SUV, and the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans -- and last year introduced an electric version of the Transit Connect commercial van. Hybrids accounted for 1.8 percent of Ford’s U.S. sales last year.
Industrywide hybrid sales peaked at 3.3 percent in the U.S. market in August 2008 after gasoline topped $4 a gallon, according to Gioia. Last year, the gasoline-electric vehicles accounted for 2.4 percent of U.S. auto sales, according to researcher Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
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