Ford Motor Company to invest £1bn for environmental R&D
Ford Motor Company has announced it is to invest at least £1 billion in the UK for the development of a range of new environmental technologies for its Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands.
This is the most significant UK commitment to the environment by a carmaker and doubles the rate of Ford’s environmental spending. The investment will lead the development of some key new technologies for Ford of Europe and PAG brands:
New generation of lightweight aluminium vehicles:
There is a 40 per cent weight saving in the new aluminium Jaguar XJ compared to the previous generation steel body.
Direct injection gasoline and advanced diesel engines and new transmissions:
Five all-new petrol engines will be offered with advanced direct injection technology. Other measures will include pressure charging, stop/start capability and advanced valve actuation.
Hybrid electric systems:
Micro-hybrid diesels will be brought the European market place.
Alternative fuels capability:
Further development and widespread availability of bio-fuelled vehicles. Ford is one of the leaders in flexi-fuel E85 ethanol vehicles where, in certain European markets such as Sweden, 80 per cent of Ford Focus and Ford Focus C-Max and 16 per cent of Volvo S40 and Volvo V50 sales are flexi-fuel.
A range of vehicle efficiency improvements and technologies to improve driver behaviour:
A set of driver information systems and selectable driving modes will be introduced allowing drivers to maximise fuel economy. Improved warm-up times, cutting out drag and smart switching of systems, reducing pumping and hydraulic losses.
Ford’s chief technical officer Richard Parry Jones said, ‘By applying the technologies we develop across our product portfolio we will be offering customers more than 100 models and derivatives with improved tailpipe emissions or fuel economy performance over the next six years.’
The key beneficiaries of the investment will be the 9,500 engineers that work at Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover R&D centres in the UK. They will be collaborating with colleagues from Volvo in Sweden and Ford’s engineering bases in Europe and worldwide. Over 100 models and derivatives will be created, cutting emissions or boosting fuel economy. For example, a regular Ford Focus, Britain’s best-selling car, will be capable of more than 70 miles per gallon. The savings made by the new investments will equate to the total annual CO2 emissions of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Speaking at the announcement, Lewis Booth, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group said, ‘Climate change is one of the greatest single challenges facing the auto industry and society today. A broad business strategy that serves all our brands is the only way we can achieve the level of improvement in emissions and fuel economy required.
‘We are not going to introduce just one or two high-profile green cars that sell in relatively low numbers and leave it at that. To tackle this issue, we are getting our 3,700 R&D people in Essex, our 2,000 engineers in Coventry and our 3,300 engineers in Warwickshire to work together. By pooling our engineering investment, our brands will develop a broader range of technologies, available faster than they could afford individually. And by deploying these technologies across the breadth of our product range – mass market and premium products, passenger cars and commercial vehicles – we can deliver far more significant reductions in the total amount of CO2 generated by our total vehicle fleet. We can also help reduce our customers’ consumption of fossil fuels, which saves them money.’
Booth continued, ‘We have already invested significantly and made great progress over the last decade. Our fleet is significantly cleaner today than ever before. For example, the current Ford Focus 1.8-litre TDCi diesel model has better performance, improved fuel economy and produces 26 per cent less CO2 than an equivalent Ford Escort 1.8 TCi model from 1998. With the further technology plans we have, our fleet in the next decade will use literally millions of tonnes less CO2 over its lifetime on the road than our fleet does today.’