Ford Expects Higher Hybrid Sales in 2009

By dancurranjr On December 31st, 2009

Ford Motor Co. said today that it is on track to sell more hybrid vehicles in 2009 than it ever has before.

Through November, Ford said has sold nearly 31,000 hybrid vehicles, or 67% more than it sold last year in the United States while total industry sales have declined 11%.

Ford’s hybrid sales increase is primarily driven by the spring introduction Ford Fusion Hybrid midsize car.

Through November, Ford sold 13,998 Fusion hybrids, according to Autodata Corp.

However, Ford still has a long way to go before it catches hybrid market leader Toyota Motor Corp. Through November, Toyota has sold 127,907 Priuses, according to Autodata Corp.

Ford also introduced the Mercury Milan hybrid midsize car earlier this year and sells hybrid versions of its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs.


Ford Hybrids Get Points for Green SUVs

By dancurranjr On June 4th, 2009

Mercury Mariner Hybrid 'Presidential Edition'Billed by Ford Motor Co. as the world’s most fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicles, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid offer a way to “drive green” and save gas without giving up interior space and versatility, says a representative of a local dealership.

“The Mariner and Escape hybrids have all the advantages people expect of SUVs — a high driving position, excellent outward visibility, plenty of cargo room — but their fuel economy is better than you get with many smaller vehicles,” said Barry Almonrode, sales consultant at Bill McCoy Ford Lincoln Mercury of Muncie.

While most cars achieve their best gas mileage on the highway, the Escape and Mariner hybrids get their best economy in the city, so they are most beneficial to those who run many errands in town or commute in traffic, he said.

“Even if you drive a small car, your fuel economy can drop to the low 20s if most of your trips are in stop-and-go conditions,” Almonrode explained. “In comparison, the Mariner and Escape hybrids are rated at 34 miles per gallon in the city.”

While Ford’s hybrid SUVs include several technologies not used on conventional vehicles, such as two-mode, gas/electric powertrains and regenerative brakes, these hybrid functions are controlled automatically, so there’s nothing special the driver needs to do, the company says.

“Orchestrating many of the functions is the job of the Vehicle System Controller,” Ford says on its Web site. “Among other things, it shuts the engine down during coasting and at stoplights to save fuel, converts the electric motor to a generator during braking to help recharge the battery pack, and helps manage powertrain-related functions.”

To test the ability of its hybrid SUVs to save gas and perform reliably under severe conditions, Ford has supplied Escape Hybrids to several New York City taxicab operators.

“With hundreds of thousands of miles accumulated over the past two years in New York City, there has been an estimated fuel savings of $250,000 for the initial fleet of 18 Escape Hybrid taxis,” the company said in a news release. “Now there are 288 Escape Hybrids in taxi service throughout the city, and drivers are reporting that the hybrids are delivering on the durability requirements and fuel-saving advantages that make them a great choice for taxi use.”

The Mariner and Escape hybrids both have 153-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, 94-horsepower electric motors, 330-volt batteries and electronically controlled, continuously variable transmissions.

Other standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, Sirius satellite radio and Ford’s “SYNC” system, which provides for hands-free control of the audio system and a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

Many people who buy an Escape Hybrid or Mariner Hybrid on or before September 30, 2009, will qualify for a $1,500 federal tax credit, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site (

Because the tax credit is scheduled to phase out as manufacturers sell more of each hybrid model, the credit on the Escape and Mariner hybrids will drop to $750 on October 1, 2009, the agency reports.

SOURCE: Star Press

Auto Tax Credits For Eco-Friendly Hybrid Cars

By dancurranjr On May 25th, 2009

irsAuto tax incentives for Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are being phased out later in 2009. However, there could be new tax credits for these eco-friendly cars. The whole purpose of these tax deductions is to reduce the amount of carbon emissions, which provide cleaner air quality.

The tax incentives started with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which replaces the clean-fuel burning deduction with a tax credit. A tax credit is subtracted directly from the total amount of federal tax owed, thus reducing or even eliminating the taxpayer’s tax obligation. The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to electric vehicles purchased or placed in service on or after January 1, 2006.

The credit is only available to the original purchaser of a new qualifying vehicle. If a qualifying vehicle is leased to a consumer, the leasing company may claim the credit. The Hybrid vehicle must also have a drive train powered by both an internal combustion engine and a rechargeable battery.

This is a list of some of the models, which qualify, including the amount for the tax credit:

  • Chrysler Aspen Hybrid – $2,200
  • Dodge Durango Hybrid – $2,200
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Nissan Altima Hybrid – $2,350

This is not a complete list and there might be another wave of tax credits for all-electric vehicles. Most automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota are already building new prototypes. These prototypes will enter the market in late 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Critics of the Energy Policy Act and the recent tax credits say the government should do more to help convert gasoline powered automobiles to Hybrid and electric solutions. For example, the government is already phasing out the tax credits during the economic recession. The critics feel that the tax credits should be extended for at least another 24 months.

The tax credits started with a $7,500 deduction which actually helped the new Hybrids gain respect and awareness. However, consumers can still save fuel costs as most of the new Hybrids can travel up to 50 miles without using a single drop of gasoline. As gas prices rise, drivers can switch the vehicle from gas to electric power for shorter travel rides.

Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV Emits Virtually No Pollutants

By dancurranjr On May 22nd, 2009

Mercury Mariner Hybrid 'Presidential Edition'The 2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid is still one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market. The vehicle uses a combination of a gas engine with a hybrid electric motor. The powerplant controls power between the engine and electric motor, which will decide when to turn off the gas engine when driving at speeds under 40 mph.

For example, when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, the gas engine automatically shuts down. This is when the powerplant decides when to use the electric motor. When the gas engine is running, it recharges the battery pack, which becomes automatic.

The gas and electric combination will provide the Mariner with an EPA-estimated MPG of 34 city and 31 highway when front-wheel drive is activated. Four-wheel drive will provide 29 city and 27 highway MPG. In addition, the SUV will emit virtually no harmful pollutants.
Mercury Mariner Hybrid Battery

The Mariner Hybrid has a 330-volt sealed nickel-metal-hydride battery (NiMH) pack which is quite advanced. The battery pack is located underneath the cargo area of the vehicle. The energy from the pack is used to start the engine and will boost acceleration at low speeds.

There is also an advanced feature known as the “Vehicle System Controller” which also shuts down the gas engine during coasting and at stoplights. This will provide additional savings on fuel while converting the electric motor to a generator during braking. This process will also recharge the battery pack and helps to manage the powertrain-related functions.

In traditional vehicles, braking is quite inefficient because you lose energy. This energy is known as heat. In Mariner Hybrid, when you apply the drum brakes, the electric motor functions as a generator and will capture some of the kinetic energy, sending it to the battery pack and providing recharging.

The Hybrid SUV engine is a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder. The engine includes an electric traction motor to deliver EPA-estimated mpg of 34 city and 31 hwy. If you purchase your Mariner Hybrid by September 30, 2009, you’re eligible for a tax credit of as much as $1,500. If you purchase a Mariner Hybrid between October 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010, the tax credits are reduced to $750.


Ford Hybrid SUV Maintains Most Fuel Efficient Vehicle

By dancurranjr On April 4th, 2009

ford-escape-hybridFord Motor Company celebrated its production of over 100,000 hybrid SUVs earlier this month. The Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids are still the most fuel-efficient SUVs on the market. Moreover, the vehicles were first released five years ago.

“As we celebrate our 100,000th hybrid, America’s interest in hybrid vehicles keeps growing, as does Ford’s commitment to advanced powertrain technologies that deliver greater fuel economy, lower emissions and help enhance our country’s energy security,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

My wife and I actually went to a local Ford dealer to test drive the two hybrids. What was amazing about the experience was the amount of information provided on their new auto technologies. The Ford Escape was my preferred choice, my wife wanted the Mercury Mariner.

I left the dealership feeling good about Ford electric vehicles. I wanted one so bad that I attempted to get our company to purchase one as a company vehicle. While the management wasn’t too impressed with buying a company SUV, the information I brought back to work is still being passed around the building.

Ford is stepping up its hybrid technologies and plans to offer more electric cars in multiple categories.

Ford is doing big things with hybrids which don’t often make the news. The company plans to expand the line of vehicle categories available in hybrid technologies. Some of the new electric cars will have a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge without using one drop of gasoline.

“No domestic automaker has more real-world experience with hybrid vehicle technology than Ford, and it shows in the quality and fuel economy of our vehicles,” Ford said.

Ford hybrid SUVs, including the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV and Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV, can deliver 34 mpg city driving, 31 mpg highway. This month, a San Francisco Escape Hybrid cab fleet accumulated 300,000 miles with no major mechanical problems. Compared with conventional cabs, those 300,000 hybrid miles translate into cost savings of approximately 5,000 gallons of gas or 100,000 pounds of carbon emissions.