FORD BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLE TEST UNIT
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2009 – A passenger car that doesn’t use a drop of gas isn’t just a flight of futuristic fancy. Test vehicles are already are on the road as Ford Motor Company charges ahead with its aggressive new electrification strategy.
Ford is bringing a new family of electrified vehicles to market over the next four years. The strategy calls for the introduction of new hybrids, a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) based on two new global product platforms. The plan calls for the introduction in 2011 of a pure BEV – using cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology – as a passenger car in North America.
As Ford and partner Magna International hustle to bring this new BEV to market, test vehicles have been on the road for more than six months, racking up thousands of miles of testing and evaluation.
Why hasn’t Ford’s BEV test vehicle been spotted on public roadways? Because it looks just like a 2009 Ford Focus. And just like inside any Focus, the driver is likely to be smiling because the first test vehicles of Ford’s BEV drivetrain technology are loads of fun to drive.
Under the skin of the Ford Focus test vehicle is a new all-electric powertrain that will go into a Ford’s new-generation C-sized global vehicle platform. The BEV will first be introduced in North America, with the potential to migrate to the European and Asia Pacific markets down the road. Test mules using current model bodies are often used by automotive engineers to prove out technology and conceal future technology from prying eyes.
Ford’s quick-to-market approach with a pure BEV will be made possible through a collaboration with Magna International, a world-class automotive supplier with deep technology expertise. While the technology development continues, in its current form, the technology is already proving itself as it runs through the paces under its temporary Focus skin.
Electrification of two key global Ford product platforms – one for Focus-size small cars and the other for Fusion-size CD cars – means the electric vehicle powertrain uses the existing structure of the vehicle platform. That means Ford can truly make the most of global economies of scale to produce new electrified vehicle technology affordably.
“When we drove the test vehicle for the first time, the quality just blew us away,” said Lisa Drake, chief engineer, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technology. “This really validates Ford’s strategy on electrification with BEVs playing a key role in the technology transformation.”
“Our objective was to make this test vehicle as great to drive as any Ford Focus,” said Dick DeVogelaere, Magna International chief engineer on the project. “We’re demonstrating that with a battery electric vehicle you don’t have to give up anything. Everything you love about the Focus is still there. It’s very responsive and has great driveability.”
The BEV test vehicle does not have an internal combustion engine. Instead it is powered by an electric motor and high-voltage lithium-ion battery cells. After an overnight charge, it’s ready for a range of more than 80 miles. That’s 80 miles without a single drop of gas. Ford and Magna are targeting a range of up to 100 miles when the vehicle is introduced to the retail market.
Lithium-ion is the latest in electric vehicle battery technology. While the chemistry is similar to the batteries used in consumer goods like laptops and mobile phones, the demands to power a vehicle are different enough to require significantly more intensive technology development. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and more power efficient that the nickel metal hydride batteries used in today’s hybrid electric vehicles.
The BEV test vehicle features a battery pack with seven modules of 14 lithium-ion cells, giving the vehicle 23 kilowatt hours or usable energy. The battery arrays are packaged in the vehicle trunk and underseat space.
The BEV test vehicle can be charged from either a standard 220-volt or 110-volt power outlet, with respective charge times of 6 or 12 hours.
In the engine compartment, the battery power goes to work. A 100-kilowatt permanent-magnet, chassis-mounted electric traction motor operates on three-phase alternating current (AC). A sophisticated motor controller and inverter convert the battery’s direct current to AC.
The powertrain, including the motor and gearbox, are packaged under the hood just like a gasoline powertrain, using existing powertrain mounts. This makes the electrified vehicle uncompromised in terms of robustness and low noise and vibration. In fact, the BEV test vehicle operates extremely quietly.
The test unit incorporates key components from Ford’s proven hybrid technology, including the electric climate control system. The high-voltage air-conditioning compressor is the same found in the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
“Even on a test vehicle, you can see that everything is packaged intelligently,” said Drake. “This is the result of a true collaborative effort with a strong partner, demonstrating that we can bring a high-quality fantastic customer experience to the road quickly. Just wait until you see the finished product!”
# # #
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 224,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.