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Suppliers tout necessity of diesel engines at Clean Transportation conference, while Ford CEO comes to the defense of electric, hybrid cars
The CEO of auto parts supplier Bosch today told a crowd at the National Summit for Clean Transportation that U.S. automakers must adopt diesel technology in order to meet the strict new CAFE standards the Obama Administration has laid out. The new legislation will see fleet averages for passenger cars rise to 35.5 mpg for 2016, up significantly from 27.3 mpg for 2011.
The words of Bosch CEO Peter Marks were echoed by Borg Warner CEO Tim Manganello, who noted that diesel engines get 30 percent better fuel economy over gasoline engines, with 50 percent more torque, while emitting 25 percent fewer emissions.
Marks then called on General Motors, Chrysler and Ford to act now to bring diesels to the U.S.
Both men, whose companies make parts for fuel-efficient cars like the Volkswagen TDI (pictured above), also expressed their lack of optimism in both the electric car and hybrids, noting that there are still several roadblocks in getting the electric car to the mass market and that hybrids don’t often deliver the fuel-economy they are touted to.
Manganello said that, “hybrids are not as attractive as the PR hype,” noting that 72 percent of hybrid owners choose not to purchase a second one.
Of the Big Three, Ford Chairman Bill Ford was in attendance and came to the defense of both hybrids and electric vehicles, noting the critical acclaim that the 2010 Fusion Hybrid has achieved – not to mention its fuel-economy. And to rebuff the suppliers skepticism about bringing electric vehicles to market, Bill Ford stated that the Ford Motor Company has a pure electric vehicle coming out this year and an electric Focus the year afterward.
Using the opportunity to promote Ford’s EcoBoost engine, a turbocharged V6 that gets V6 fuel economy and V8 power, Bill Ford did say that FoMoCo was ready with diesels if the North American market was open to them.
Ford is the second largest producer of diesel engines in Europe, he told the audience, before stating that if there was demand FoMoCo could easily bring them over for use in U.S. vehicles.
Ford Motor Company has announced huge strides in its efforts to become economically viable. And whether through magic or some sort of wacky accounting that involves proper management of finances, it has done this without federal government aid (aka your tax dollars).
Today Ford announced that is has reduced its $25.9 billion debt by more than a third with a payment of $9.9 billion. The payment was made in 2.4 billion in cash as well as 468 million shares of Ford Common stock.
Reducing the company’s debt so significantly puts FoMoCo in a much-improved financial situation moving forward. This one-time payment will reduce Ford’s annual interest payments by $500 million.
“By substantially reducing our debt, Ford is taking another step toward creating an exciting, viable enterprise,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “As with our recent agreements with the UAW, Ford continues to lead the industry in taking the decisive actions necessary to weather the current downturn and deliver long-term profitable growth.”
Official release after the jump:
The future of Lincoln? Yea right...
Used to highlight the potential of the Microsoft SYNC system found in modern FoMoCo vehicles, the Lincoln C Concept is quite obviously a technology concept and not a production concept – even if it is based on Ford’s global small car platform.
The futuristic SYNC system in the C Concept allows drivers to interact with a computer personality by voice and have the computer perform tasks, such as adding meetings to an address book, making calls and providing you with navigation instructions – essentially things that GM’s onStar already does, although the SYNC system would perform the tasks itself, rather than a person on the other end of the phone.
Most impressively, however, is the fact that the conceptual SYNC system can search the internet for you, find articles or items of interest and even read them to you while you drive.
The C Concept show in Detroit features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 180hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque, all the while getting 43 miles per gallon on the highway. The transmission on the concept is a dual-clutch system (likes Audi’s DSG system) that is operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Now if only Ford could produce a car with this engine/drivetrain combo. That would be exciting!
Official release after the jump: