Ford and Toyota Collaborate On Gas-Electric Hybrid for Trucks, SUVs

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Ford already makes hybrid versions of certain vehicles, such as its Ford fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans. (Image: Digital-delight.ch)
Ford already makes hybrid versions of certain vehicles, such as its Ford fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans. (Image: Digital-delight.ch)

BUSINESS

  • Ford to produce over 100,000 hybrid and electric vehicles by 2013
  • Toyota hybrid sales reach 3.3 million since 1997 Prius launch
  • Ford delays Focus Electric launch until Spring 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are working towards an agreement to collaborate on a hybrid powertrain system for trucks such as pickups and sport-utility vehicles in an effort to meet fuel-efficiency targets established under President Barack Obama’s administration.

The initiative was announced in July following Obama’s agreement with carmakers that the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard should be set at 54.5 miles per gallon.

In order to respect the fuel-economy order, automakers are looking for ways to boost fuel economy. Rather than downsizing or eliminating these popular gas-guzzlers, the two companies are working together to continue providing drivers with their favorite vehicles while respecting fuel-economy standards. The hybrid solution is to combine the expertise of US-based Ford and Japan-based Toyota affording both companies lower development costs.

Stepping Up Green Vehicle Production

Ford aims to step up production of hybrid and electric vehicles to exceed 100,000 by 2013, according to Bloomberg. Ford already produces the number-one selling vehicle in the US, its F-series pickup. With yearly hybrid sales of 35,000, the company plans to make 25% of its vehicles partly or fully on electricity, reports Auto Observer. The company currently makes hybrid versions of certain vehicles, such as its Ford fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans.

Toyota’s vehicles currently include the Tundra and Tacoma pickups, and Highlander and Sequoia SUVs. The company produces the number-one selling hybrid in the US, the Toyota Prius, selling almost 75,000 so far in 2011 and over 140,000 in 2010.

In collaboration with Tesla Motors, Toyota is fine-tuning the production of a battery-powered version of its Toyota RAV4 SUV, which will go on sale in 2012. The company has sold 3.3 million hybrid vehicles since the launch of its Prius cars in 1997, according to BBC News.

Toyota and Ford are also working together on in-vehicle communications and entertainment solutions such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Ford Delays Electric Car Launch

Ford had hoped to launch its Focus electric car in the latter part of 2011. However, the company has stated it will be postponing the launch of its Ford Focus Electric until spring of 2012. The much-awaited offering will run entirely on electricity and boasts a single-speed transmission minimizing noise and maximizing energy efficiency.

According to CBS Detroit, almost 30 drivers have taken a simulator for a test run across an 11-mile circuit to help Ford fine tune its new offering. One feature in particular, the My Ford Touch interactive display makes driving a high-tech experience with 4.2-inch screens providing various readings such as battery levels.

Key Statistics – Global Hybrid and Electric Car Sales in 2010 (source: All-electric-vehicles.com)

  • The US had the highest overall car sales in 2010 at 11,640,000, with 291,000 of thesebeing hybrid, 2.5% of the total number of cars sold.
  • Japan had overall car sales of 4,472,700 but remains the world leader in hybrid car salesat 492,000 or 11% of overall sales.
  • Europe’s car sales were at 15,715,000, with less than 1%, or 110,000, of these being hybrid models.
  • Throughout the rest of the world, 12,870,000 cars were sold in 2010, less than 1%, or 90,400, of which were hybrids.

By Ellsy O'Neill for
Ellsy O'Neill is a Paris-based writer, proofreader and translator. She covers industry, culture and current affairs.

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