TRAVERSE CITY, MI --- Ford Motor Co.'s top environmental officer on Aug. 6 pointed to the need for continued cooperation with the federal government as a significant factor to advance the company and the country's vision for greener transportation.
"The foundation of Ford's sustainability strategy is based on delivering affordable fuel economy for millions," said Sue Cischke, group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. "Government policy such as fuel standards and greenhouse gas emission regulations, as well as support for the development of advanced technologies, plays a key role in supporting Ford's product and technology pathway for a more fuel-efficient future."
Cischke cited the recent agreement on one national standard for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions regulations as an example of how the government, the auto industry and the environmental community can work together toward common goals.
The agreement provides a framework to reach an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016. She said that creating one national standard gives Ford and other automakers greater clarity and flexibility to achieve the nation's goals for energy independence and climate change mitigation.
To meet the demand for higher fuel efficiency, Ford will leverage and expand EcoBoost engine technology that will be available on 90 percent of the company's nameplates by 2013. Other technologies such as six-speed transmissions and electric power assist steering, which yield additional fuel efficiencies, will also be widely applied across Ford's vehicle lineup over the next several years.
Ford has doubled the number and production of its hybrid vehicles and announced plans to bring four new electrified vehicles to market over the next three years. They include a battery-electric Transit Connect commercial van in 2010, a battery-electric Ford Focus passenger car in 201l, and the next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.
Overall, Ford has committed to $14 billion of investment in the development and deployment of new technologies over the next seven years.
"Ford is pleased that the Obama administration has recognized the substantial investment required to develop the technologies that will increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions," said Cischke. "We appreciate the administration's partnership in retooling plants, developing advanced technologies and supporting the domestic production of key components and batteries."
Cischke also cited a link between energy prices and purchase decisions as a driving force in the need to implement a comprehensive national energy policy. "Price signals matter," she said. "That is why we support a comprehensive, economy-wide, upstream national carbon cap-and-trade program that can slow, stop and reverse the growth of U.S. emissions while expanding the U.S. economy.
"Ford remains committed to delivering the fuel-efficient vehicles that will help achieve our nation's goals, but it is imperative that government also address the need for lower carbon fuels, consumer incentives and price signals to adopt the technologies that will deliver a more fuel-efficient, greener future."