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Flexibility Fuels Ford Concepts

Rick

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Consumers are developing a stronger interest in environmental technology that translates into an increased interest in environmentally friendly products. In the auto industry, consumer attitudes are further fueled by the ups and downs of gasoline prices.

The caveat is that, on average, Americans would prefer to improve the world without changing their lifestyles. As a result, automotive companies such as Ford Motor Company are introducing an increasing number of innovative environmental technologies, including hybrid-electric and alternative-fuel vehicles.

For example, Americans can now choose from 50 vehicle models that can run on E85 fuel (85 percent ethanol/15 percent gasoline), and E85 fueling stations are expanding across North America. Americans bought 88,000 hybrids in 2004. A recent J.D. Power and Associates study predicts that by 2008, that number will grow to 350,000, with more than half (64 percent) of those being trucks. The Power study indicates that while people may be willing to make sacrifices when it comes to fuel-efficient powertrains, the majority won’t compromise on vehicle capability and performance.

To address these contradictory desires, Ford Motor Company has committed to building more than 250,000 hybrid-electric vehicles annually by 2010. Ford recently unveiled two very innovative concepts that demonstrate how future vehicles can incorporate environmentally friendly powertrains without compromising style, performance and capability: The F-250 Super Chief combines Ford Super Duty pickup capability with clean, renewable hydrogen; the Ford Reflex offers dynamic styling, sports-car performance, and 65 miles per gallon by combining diesel, electric and solar energy.

Built Ford Tough and Green: F-250 Super Chief

Using hydrogen, the Tri-Flex V-10 produces 400 lb.-ft. of torque and 99 percent less CO2 than using gasoline.

The Ford F-250 Super Chief concept takes truck leadership to a new level — as the world’s first vehicle with Tri-Flex fueling, enabling the supercharged V-10 to run for 500 miles between fill-ups on hydrogen, E85 ethanol or gasoline.

Tri-fuel flexibility is one innovation by Ford to possibly help pave the way for hydrogen vehicles, as the nation’s ethanol and hydrogen fueling infrastructure continues to develop.

"The Tri-Flex fuel engine encourages the development of the hydrogen fuel infrastructure for the best future mobility solution," says Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. "It also drives the expansion of the domestic ethanol E85 fuel production and availability and, of course, provides our customers the convenience of gasoline until these other fuels become more readily available."

Sporty and Green: Ford Reflex

The Ford Reflex proves that small, fuel-efficient cars can be bold, American and innovative.

The Reflex is a technological showcase with its advanced diesel-electric hybrid engine — delivering up to 65 mpg — solar panels, flexible interior made from synthetic and regenerated materials, and such advanced safety features as inflatable safety belts in the rear.

The Ford Reflex concept shows that small cars can be stylish, sporting, and environmentally friendly.

"The bold and innovative design of Reflex stretches the traditional boundaries of a subcompact car," says Peter Horbury, executive director, North American Design. "Reflex delivers the fuel economy and flexibility that Americans have come to expect."

The Ford F-250 Super Chief and the Ford Reflex concepts offer very different solutions to the same consumer demand, creating vehicles that are environmentally friendly yet still fulfill consumers’ desire for capability, performance and style.
 

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