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USA: Ford’s technology battles cold temps

The Ford Focus electric on display at the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. The show is open to the public from February 18 – 27th, 2011.
Photograph by: Derek McNaughton, Postmedia News

Ford Motor Co., says its use of an “advanced active liquidheating system” prevents cold weather from slowing down the Ford Focus Electric.

Thanks to this technology, the battery provides additional power, longer range and is preconditioned after charging -all in cold temperatures, Ford said in a statement.

“Batteries are similar to people as they both achieve maximum performance working under moderate, unchanged temperatures,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. “Using a liquid-heated battery system allows Ford to keep the Focus Electric’s battery at a moderate temperature and improve performance whether you are charging or driving in a cold climate.”

Extreme temperatures can affect battery performance and reduce the range of electric vehicles. The range will not be impacted as much with a liquid-heated system compared to an air system, said Marakby. That’s why Ford will use an advanced active liquid-cooling and heating system to regulate the temperature of its lithiumion battery packs, which are designed to operate under a range of ambient conditions, he said.

“A liquid-heated battery can accept a charge faster from the regenerative braking that recaptures kinetic energy and sends it back to the battery, essentially providing longer range for the customer in real world cold weather conditions,” said Marakby. “Additionally, since acceleration in an electric vehicle comes from the power available in the battery, the customer will have more power available if the battery is warmer.”

Ford plans to launch five new electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and in addition to Focus Electric in late 2011, will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second nextgeneration lithium-ion battery hybrid and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012.


Rising oil costs and dramatic events in the Middle East are thrusting fuel-efficient vehicles into the 2011 Geneva Auto Show’s limelight, according to Edmunds’ Auto Observer.

The show organizers moved the ‘Green Pavilion’ display that was introduced at the back of the hall last year into a prominent location at one of the busiest entrances to the sprawling show complex,” John O’Dell, senior editor at Edmund’s GreenCarAdvisor. com. At least 20 exhibitors – including major automakers, engineering firms and scientific institutes – are displaying the latest in fuel efficiency tools, alternative fuels and fuel efficient vehicles in the 32,000-square-foot pavilion during the public run of the show that runs from March 3-13.

Among those leading the fuel-conscious charge in Geneva is Honda with its EV Concept that hints at the styling direction for its upcoming battery-electric Fit EV, on sale next year in the United States and Japan. Honda is also showing off a plug-in hybrid system that could be integrated into future mid-size models.

CONSUMER REPORTS CAR RATINGS QUESTIONED is raising questions about Consumer Reports’ car ratings. A recent article focuses on the magazine’s poor report card assigned to Chrysler. The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker is “last in the class” for performance, comfort, utility and reliability – attributes measured with comprehensive road tests and a predicted reliability score derived from an annual reader survey.


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