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USA: Ford Trots Out Electric Focus, Promises Its Hybrids Will Trump Toyota, GM

Ford Motor Company won’t be the first automaker to release a plug-in hybrid, but it claims it has worked out more of the kinks in the concept than Toyota or General Motors.
Next year, Ford will release two new hybrids–the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid–to complement the all-electric Ford Focus that has just started to roll off the lines at the Michigan Assembly Plant.

The company claims that both hybrids will get better mileage than, respectively, the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Prius Plug-in and provide advantages over the Chevy Volt. The electric Focus, meanwhile, gets the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon, although, of course, it doesn’t consume fuel.

The all-electric Focus, new hybrids, and other developments (Ford also has an new, unnamed electric likely coming in 2013) all underscore the dominant theme at the automaker for the past several years: cutting fuel. Even before President Obama unfurled the new U.S. goal of raising the average mileage for new light trucks and cars to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, Ford was already turning in the direction of saving energy. (There’s more with the Forbes chat with Bill Ford here.)

“Fuel efficiency is by far the most important influencing factor” when it comes to selecting a car, said Dan Kapp, Director of Powertrain Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford. Small cars constitute 25 percent of car sales for Ford in the U.S., up from 19 percent a year ago. In California, small cars account for 30 percent of Ford’s sales. Next year close to one-third of its car lines will sport a car that gets over 40 MPG.


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