What will it take to electrify the automotive industry? Ford gave its opinions as part of the Plug-in 2009 conference in Long Beach last week.
Mike Tinskey, manager of Ford’s sustainability activities focused on electric vehicles and infrastructure, outlined what Ford sees as enablers for electrification, suggesting that migrating to some battery commonality would be a huge plus for the industry as it would support a more rapid achievement of the higher production volumes needed to bring prices down.
He said that the biggest issue with batteries is not the technology, but the volume. If battery manufacturers can get north of 100,000 packs annually then prices come down. He believes one way forward is to collectively focus on initial volumes on common packs.
Tinksey did urge caution however, stating this isn’t something that can be solved tomorrow but is a long-term goal.
At the moment Ford has four full hybrids on the market and will increase its use of hybrid technology going forward with plans to introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles during the mid-term 2011-2020 period. For the long-term Ford is expected to continue to focus on volume expansion of hybrid technologies as well as leveraging plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and introducing fuel cells.
The company outlined a number of factors that will help to contribute to electrification including: the development of infrastructure; supporting policies; utilities vehicle to home and vehicle to grid; utility partnerships; alternative business models; Government incentives and grants; secondary uses for the battery pack; and demonstrations and early fleet sales.