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Ford plans new hybrid models

Ford was the first US automaker to introduce a hybrid vehicle, the Escape sport utility vehicle that runs on either its gasoline engine or on its electric motor.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2005 04:36 PM IST

US auto giant Ford expects to have five hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles on the market within three years, chairman Bill Ford said on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show.

"It's only the start and it's only one of the fuel efficient technologies we're working seriously on," the company chairman, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, said as he presented his plans to the premier US auto show.

"Our commitment is clear. We're going to be a leader in bringing our customers technologies that makes a difference in their life and in their world."

Ford was the first US automaker to introduce a hybrid vehicle, the Escape sport utility vehicle that runs on either its gasoline engine or on its electric motor depending on driving conditions, and incorporates regenerative braking technology, which funnels energy generated from the brakes into the battery.

Up to now, the hybrid market in the US has been dominated by Japanese makers Toyota and Honda.

The Escape hybrid won honors as North American Truck of the Year at the show, topping other SUVs in a vote of auto writers.

Bill Ford said more hybrids are coming from the company, including new versions of its Mercury Mariner compact SUV later this year a Mazda Tribute by next year, and hybrid versions of its new sedans, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan by 2008.

"That's five hybrids, one very popular one on sale today, another coming later this year and thre more in the next three years."

Ford said the company is the only automaker with major efforts in four different fuel-saving technologies; hybrids, clean diesels, hydrogen powered internal combustion enginers and fuel cells.

"My great-grandfather's vision was to provide affordable transportation for the world," he said. "I want to expand that vision for the 21st century and provide transportation that is affordable in every sense of the word, socially and environmentally, as well as economically. That means vehicles that are safe, clear and energy efficient."

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