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by Tim Beissmann

As many as one in four vehicles sold around the world by Ford Motor Co could be hybrids, plug-ins and pure electric vehicles by the year 2020.

The company’s director of global electrification, Nancy Gioia, today confirmed that the number of alternative energy vehicles it sold would be between 10 percent and 25 percent within 10 years. Currently, just two percent of Ford vehicles sold globally are hybrids, plug-ins and EVs.

Ford is set to introduce at least five vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries over the next three years, including all-electric versions of the Focus and Transit Connect small van in 2011 and an all-new plug-in hybrid in 2012.

Ms Gioia said Ford was uncertain which green alternative would prove the most popular given the rate at which the technology was changing, but expected hybrids to make up 70 percent of Ford’s green fleet in 2020, plug-ins to account for 20 to 25 percent and pure EVs to make up the rest.

Between now and 2013, Ford will invest around $US1 billion ($1.16 billion) in research and development and manufacturing of electrified vehicles.

Ford’s electric strategy so far has been to introduce the technology into previously existing vehicles, and Ms Gioia denied that a distinctive “green” look – as adopted by pioneers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan – was necessary for success.

She did not comment on whether Ford’s future alternative energy vehicles would feature a consistent family styling theme, but said the company was determined to make a “good first impression” on its customers.

(with Automotive News)




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