Bob Holycross

Manager, environment and energy

planning, Ford Motor

The key thing is to recognize that customers today still are not going to give up the utility and comforts that they’ve been accustomed to. They want higher fuel economy, but they want that and everything else. So we have to find that bridge to give them the technologies that they need.

We’ve taken a truck and SUV plant in Michigan and we’ve converted it to build a battery electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid, a full hybrid and a fuel-efficient gasoline small compact car. To be able to build all those vehicles under one roof, and get that kind of scale, we’re going to get some cost efficiency through that alone. As the battery cost comes down, it’s going to complete the whole equation.

What we’ve done with our electrification strategy is really given the customer the power of choice. So whether it’s a traditional hybrid electric vehicle, or a plug-in hybrid with extended range, or a pure battery electric vehicle, you’ve got to have something that is going to satisfy customers and, depending on where the market place goes, have the capacity to be able to flex to do what demand is calling for.

We’re in the process of migrating the majority of our gasoline powertrains into what we call our EcoBoost engines, which are downsized engines with direct injection and turbocharging. What that allows us to do is get up to about 20 percent fuel economy improvement, 15 percent reduction in [carbon dioxide]. By 2013, we’ll have that across 90 percent of our nameplates.