CHICAGO Ford Motor Co.
sees promise in new battery technologies and the use of liquid
and compressed natural gases as fuel, even though there are
obstacles to the widespread adoption of such alternatives.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based
automaker introduced six new electric vehicles
(EVs)including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and a pure
battery electric vehiclelast year, president and chief
executive officer Alan Mulally said during Fords annual
Shareholders asked how Ford was
going to partner with energy producers to advance compressed
and liquefied natural gas technology and whether the company
was out in front promoting hydrogen fuel cell technology.
"Weve invested a
significant amount of money in the electrification of our
fleet," executive chairman William Clay Ford Jr. said. "We
understand very acutely that one of the barriers to adoption is
the lack of an infrastructure so (customers) can feel
comfortable knowing that they can charge their vehicle(s)
almost regardless of where they are. This is something
were spending a lot of time on. Were working with
energy providers to try and make this (widespread use of
alternative fuels) happen."
Fleets have been the first to
adopt alternate-fuel vehicles, in part because commercial
vehicles can accommodate larger gas tanks than light vehicles,
Ford said. Natural gas is less dense than gasoline and requires
The widespread adoption of
alternative fuels will require "an integrated solution"
involving policymakers as well as business, Mulally said.
However, Ford will "continue to improve the internal combustion
engine, direct fuel injection, turbo charge and EcoBoost,
(resulting in a) tremendous improvement in fuel mileage and
reduction of carbon dioxide."
Mulally also said battery
technology is likely to advance as "new chemistries" are
discovered, making them a "more efficient and affordable"