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Ford goes all in on electrification

Plug it in: The new-generation Escape mid-size SUV will be Ford Australia's first model available with an electrified variant when it arrives next year.

More hybrid, battery-electric powertrains imminent as Ford electrifies model line-up

Ford logo4 Apr 2019

FORD Motor Company is pressing on with the electrification of its model line-up, with a range of mild, series, parallel and plug-in hybrid powertrains to be introduced alongside battery-electric vehicles in the next two years – and they could be heading Down Under.
 
Speaking to GoAuto, Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy said the Escape Plug-In Hybrid mid-size SUV will launch locally next year (see separate story), but he stopped short of confirming – or denying – any other new electrified model.
 
“It will be our very first electrified model for Australia,” he said. “We have no news on other models, but rest assured, there will be more.”
 
Of the 16 electrified models announced this week at the Go Electric event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, of particular interest to Australia were the EcoBoost Hybrid versions of the Fiesta light car – soon to be discontinued locally in non-ST form – and Focus small car.
 
The pair feature the same mild-hybrid set-up that uses a belt-driven integrated starter-generator and a 48V lithium-ion battery pack to do more than just power the vehicle’s electrical ancillaries.
 
The former charges the latter via regenerative braking and improves the 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine’s performance by adding up to 20Nm of electric torque during acceleration and normal driving.
 
The electric torque is most apparent at lower engine speeds, while the elimination of turbo lag has resulted in a larger turbocharged being fitted to deliver more power, as well as a lower compression ratio.
 
Alternatively, the engine’s load can be reduced by instead using up to 50Nm of electric torque, while it can be switched off when coasting to a stop below 15km/h thanks to the extended operation of the idle-stop system, all in the aim of efficiency.
 
As a result, the Fiesta’s claimed fuel consumption is 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres and carbon dioxide emissions are 112 grams per kilometre, while the Focus manages 4.7L/100km and 106g/km respectively.
 
A similar set-up will be used by the Escape EcoBlue Hybrid, another model on the Australian radar, which instead features a 2.0-litre EcoBlue turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine to sip 5.0L/100km and emit 132g/km.
 
Two BEVs are also likely to be on the horizon Down Under, with an urban-focused zero-emissions version of the Transit large van due in 2021 with multiple body styles.
 
Additionally, the Mustang sportscar-inspired SUV due next year has been confirmed to support fast charging and have a driving range of 600km on Europe’s recently introduced WLTP cycle.
 
The Mondeo Hybrid mid-size car and its parallel system are also a possibility for Australia alongside the Escape Hybrid that runs a similar set-up.
 
While the Transit Plug-In Hybrid large van was revealed in September last year and is known to be under consideration for Australia, the Tourneo Plug-In Hybrid people-mover is unlikely to be seen Down Under despite right-hand-drive production being available.
 
Both models have a series system that uses a 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine to charge the 13.6kWh lithium-ion battery that the front electric motor draws its power from. It has a 50km pure-electric driving range, sips 3.3L/100km and emits 75g/km.
 
Mild-hybrid EcoBlue Hybrid versions of the Transit, Transit Custom and Tourneo have also been confirmed with the sole focus of improving the fuel efficiency of their turbo-diesel engines.
 
The aforementioned Escape Plug-In Hybrid uses a power-split system that also prioritises fuel efficiency, while the 331kW/840Nm Explorer Plug-In Hybrid large SUV, which is not offered in right-hand drive, has a parallel set-up that instead preferences performance.
 
The latter uses a 3.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol V6 engine, has a 40km pure-electric driving range, sips 3.4L/100km and emits 78g/km.
 
Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley said the Blue Oval “will make electrification relevant and affordable for more drivers than ever before”.
 
“Forward-looking, technologically advanced and using a wide range of electrified solutions to suit the different needs of different consumers … the models introduced today are just the start of our plans to develop a comprehensive line-up of smart vehicles for a smart world,” he said.
 
“From Fiesta to Transit, every new vehicle that we introduce will feature an electrified version that best suits the needs and pockets of our customers across Europe.”

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