Remember when we used to have a bit of a giggle at people who bought petrol-electric hybrid cars and swore the fad would never catch on?
It turns out the hybrid has become more than just a fad, the internal combustion/electric power units winning some of the world's great car races on the one hand and getting cheaper and more acceptable on the other.
Now Ford in the United States has announced it will become a mainstream hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturer with a full family of alternative fuel cars that will include SUVs, light trucks and sports cars. Yep, the famous Mustang is set to go alternative.
Ford says it will introduce 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years, effectively repositioning itself as a company promoting clean mobility, a car maker providing new mobility solutions.
Hybrid variants of two of Ford's biggest automotive icons, the immensely popular F150 light truck and the Mustang sports car, have been confirmed for ‘hybridity' and due to go on sale in 2020.
No word on which internal combustion engine will be used for the pair but that lusty workhorse, the 2.3 litre, turbo four-cylinder EcoBoost could be a good fit with the F150.
Mustang? A V8 engine is being talked about for the evergreen pony car. A V8 hybrid? Low-down torque could only be on the high side of incredible.
Word out of the US is that Ford's law enforcement clientele will also benefit from hybrid technology courtesy of two ‘pursuit-rated' hybrid police cars, one a sedan expected to be based on the new Taurus and the other on the Explorer SUV.
Other alternate-power Fords being mooted include a fully-electric SUV with a 450-plus kilometre driving range and a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit which might also be shipped to various European markets.
Ford is also – allegedly – working on a fully-electric autonomous vehicle which, it's claimed, will be on sale by 2021 exclusively for commercial rideshare services.
And it doesn't end there because Ford, taking a very holistic approach to its vehicular future, is also developing a number of electric vehicle support technologies to make ownership an easy experience.
Those technologies that will make EV ownership a breeze include inductive wireless recharging that will make downtime recharges no more difficult than simply parking the car in its regular spot.
Ford says it wants to be part of the solution rather than looking at the problem and to that end has partnered with German brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group to build a charging network able to rival those of electric car maker Tesla.
Our brave new automotive world might be here a lot sooner than we ever thought possible.
Photo: Shane Williams - Five Spice Creative
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