‘Crack that code’: Ford CEO Jim Hackett promises fuel-efficient SUVs

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Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett said on Thursday the automaker is reviewing its product portfolio as consumers show a preference for sport utility vehicles that have fuel efficiencies closer to sedans.

Hackett, at a Ford event in Detroit, said that in the past SUVs were not fuel efficient, but “we’re starting to crack that code.”

The automaker is conducting an annual review of its product portfolio against that backdrop, he said, but did not address specifics.

Ford has signaled a plan to stop producing mid-size Fusion sedans for North America at a plant in Mexico and shift Fusion production to China, people familiar with Ford’s communications with suppliers told Reuters on Wednesday.

Ford had previously announced plans to shift production of its Focus cars to China from Mexico.

Separately, Ford also said on Thursday it would relocate its autonomous and electric vehicle units to Detroit from Dearborn, Michigan.

“The relocation brings together Ford teams that are creating new business models in a resurgent, diverse neighborhood with industrial roots,” Ford said.

The company said the new facility located in the Corktown neighborhood would be up and running early next year.

The team in Corktown will be led by Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification. The company will begin testing its latest self-driving vehicle technology next year.

Reporting by Joe White and Uday Sampath

2013 Ford Focus Electric: Focus Electric battery infromation

Main stream electric vehicles are new to the United States. When Ford enters the ring this year with the Ford Focus Electric, you’re going to find that it not only knocks the competitior out of the ring with the MPG, but also with the charging time. Oh, and by the time the competitor wakes up from the knock out, the Focus Electric will already be charged and on the road!

For more information on the Ford Focus Electric in Portland, please call 1-800-783-0863.

Focus Electric features an advanced charging system that allows the car’s battery to fully recharge in four hours – nearly half the time of Nissan Leaf – using available 240-volt outlets that can be installed in residential garages.

Faster charging with 240 volts also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops – up to 20 miles per charge hour – so they can significantly improve a car’s range during a busy day of driving by recharging multiple times.

For those who need to charge up while away from home, the number of charging stations continues to rise. In the last 10 months the number of charging stations in the United States has risen from 750 to 5,507, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

To cut charging costs at home, a unique value charging feature powered by Microsoft is designed to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, which can make charging the Focus Electric less costly than charging the Nissan Leaf.

Other standard features on Focus Electric include Ford’s Rear View Camera System, MyKey®, rain-sensing windshield wipers and Reverse Sensing System.

Many of the technologies in Focus Electric are shared across Ford’s electrified vehicle lineup. Some of the shared or soon-to-be-shared features include:

•SYNC® with MyFord Touch® offers multiple ways – including voice commands – for customers to manage and control their phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions. Plug-in hybrids and all-electric models have additional options for monitoring information like battery state of charge
•MyFord Mobile enables access via smartphone or Web-based interface to perform key tasks, such as monitoring a vehicle’s state of charge and current range or locating charge stations and planning routes to find them
•SmartGauge® with EcoGuide provides instantaneous fuel economy so drivers can adjust driving behavior accordingly if needed
•Regenerative braking captures and reuses more than 95 percent of the braking energy normally lost during the braking process
•Hybrid transmission, designed by Ford engineers in-house, is capable of operating at high speeds and in a smooth, fuel-efficient manner at the same time
•Lithium-ion batteries – the lithium-ion battery pack in Focus Electric is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile component warranty
•Charge port (for electric and plug-in vehicles), conveniently located on the driver’s side and near the front of the car, activates a light ring that illuminates the port twice when plugged in. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the car charges. Each quadrant represents 25 percent of the maximum battery charge
•Recycled fiber made from 100 percent post-consumer and post-industrial content is used in the seat fabric with the equivalent of 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles in each car

Manufacturing advances bring carbon fiber closer to mass production

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Automakers have dreamed of using carbon fiber in mass production for decades. But sky-high raw material prices and painfully slow manufacturing cycle times meant that dream was always more like a fantasy. Not anymore. Several recent advancements mean that carbon fiber could soon play an important role in the automotive industry.

Carbon fiber has been used in race cars, exotic sports cars and in automotive aftermarket parts for years. But now automakers believe they’ve identified the path of how to use it in mass production, and do so by the second half of this decade.

There’s no one single breakthrough, but rather a combination of improvements that make this possible. And they’re coming just in time for automakers who face the daunting task of boosting their average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon.

Most carbon fiber components manufactured today are made in autoclaves, essentially big ovens that bake those parts at intensely high temperatures and pressures. But the autoclave cycle-time needed to make, say, a hood, is 90 minutes. That may be good enough to make body panels, cross braces and other parts for a car like the low-volume SRT Viper. But it’s not nearly fast enough for mass production where cars are rolling off the line every 60 seconds.

A crucial bottleneck is the manual layup of carbon fiber, where sections are cut with scissors and laid into a mold by hand. It takes forever. The next big improvement will come from using robots to cut and place all the carbon pieces, as well as load and unload the molding machines.

Carbon fiber molders such as Plasan, which makes the body panels for the Viper, are just now starting to use an induction process where infrared heat is used instead of an autoclave. This cuts cycle times to only 17 minutes, good enough to boost volumes to 30-50,000 cars a year – a very big step forward, but still not mass to production levels.

Suppliers such as Dow Automotive are working on developing new resins that flow faster and at lower temperatures. They want a low viscosity resin that shoots into a mold like water, quickly getting into all the nooks and crannies, but then sets very quickly. They call it command cure. This will lead to cycle times of only 5 to 7 minutes, tantalizingly close to what’s needed for mass production. The new resins are being used in a process called Resin Transfer Molding, or RTM. It allows molders to place a carbon fiber mat in a mold, close it up, shoot in hot resin at high pressure, then take out a completed part.

You may have seen the carbon fiber wheel that recently debuted at the SEMA Show, made by an Australian company called Carbon Revolution. Though company officers will not disclose how the wheel is made, they admit it’s very similar to the RTM process.

Making carbon fiber is complicated but fairly straightforward: You take a fiber and heat it up until it carbonizes. But automakers use an aerospace-grade carbon fiber called polyacrylonitrile (PAN), which has a level of purity that greatly exceeds what’s needed for automotive applications. At roughly $15 a pound (steel is less than 40 cents per pound), it’s another reason why carbon fiber is so expensive. But it’s the only carbon fiber available, so that’s why they use it. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is doing some of the most advanced research in this field in the US, is looking at using different materials, notably polyethylene, which is significantly cheaper. Oak Ridge is also experimenting with lignin, which offers the intriguing possibility of making carbon fiber from bio-mass. And with the abundance of natural gas now available in the US, it’s also looking into making carbon fiber with that.

Another part of Oak Ridge’s work is developing Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools for engineers to predict how their carbon fiber designs will perform. Amazingly, those tools aren’t available yet. Other research includes USCAR, the US Council on Automotive Research, which is delving into how to make cost-effective floorpans and frame rails.

Developing carbon fiber components for mass production means designing them to fit into the existing automotive manufacturing infrastructure. If these are structural components that go into a car early in the assembly process, they will need to withstand the electro-coat and 400º F bake ovens in assembly plants without warping or losing strength. Structural adhesives will have to replace welding operations, and there won’t be any “metal finishing” to smooth out any blemishes. The point is, you can’t just start using these pieces in a car without thinking through the entire manufacturing process.

Now automakers are focused on developing cycle times that are well under 5 minutes, a key enabler for mass production. And everyone is getting in on the game. Toyota, Daimler, Subaru and Nissan have agreements with the Japanese company Toray, the largest carbon fiber supplier in the world. Ford is teaming up with US-based Dow, while General Motors recently signed an agreement with Teijin, another Japanese company. BMW formed a joint venture with the German supplier SGL. Indeed, BMW claims it will be the first major automaker to sell an all-carbon car, its electric i3.

[Source: Autoblog]

Portland Ford Fusion dealer presents fuel economy for the 2013 Fusion

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Your premier Portland Ford Fusion dealer, Dick’s Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro, is pleased to present to you the fuel economy information on the 2013 Ford Fusion, for sale near Tigard. For further information for Oregon Ford Fusion shoppers, please call us at (800) 783-0863.

The new Fusion is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy across customers’ choice of gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid sub-segments, following through with the commitment by Ford to be the fuel-efficiency leader – or among the leaders – with each new model brought to market.

Fusion brings the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment. It offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives, a pair of EcoBoost™ four-cylinder engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, an automatic start stop system to shut off the engine at stationary idle, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive applications, and a choice between automatic and manually shifted six-speed transmissions.

The 1.6-liter EcoBoost is expected to deliver best-in-class four-cylinder non-hybrid fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine – paired with a paddle-shifted six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, available 19-inch wheels and tires, and all-wheel drive with the ability to send additional torque to the rear – is the Fusion performance option.

The Fusion Hybrid – 2010 North American Car of the Year – continues to innovate and evolve with all-new lithium-ion batteries that save weight and generate more power than previous nickel-metal hydride batteries, while raising maximum speed under electric-only power from 47 mph to 62 mph.

Fusion Hybrid also features an all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine, significantly downsized from the previous 2.5-liter unit while maintaining performance standards. This innovative powertrain is anticipated to deliver best-in-class fuel economy of 47 mpg in city driving and 44 mpg on the highway.

Fusion Hybrid fuel economy stands to outperform the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid by 4 mpg city and 5 mpg highway and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid by 12 mpg and 4 mpg, respectively.

Topping the fuel-efficiency ladder is the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world. Arriving this fall, Fusion Energi is anticipated to deliver more than 100 MPGe, a mile per gallon equivalency metric for electrified vehicles. This is 8 MPGe more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 MPGe more than the projected efficiency of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid model.

The next-generation Fusion 1.6-liter is the first automatic-transmission Ford product offered with an automatic start stop system. It shuts off engine power smoothly when the car is stopped and seamlessly restarts as the driver releases the brake pedal, helping Fusion to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by approximately 3.5 percent.

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid in Portland at Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro, gets 47MPG across the board

Portland Ford dealer, Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro, is feeling a bit like a kid waiting for Santa to come. Why? Because we are within weeks of getting the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid in Portland. For more information call us at (800) 783-0863.

Ford Motor Company once again raises the hybrid fuel-economy bar with the all-new Ford C-MAX Hybrid, which is now officially EPA-certified at 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined – beating Toyota Prius v by up to 7 mpg.

The certification is significant because it makes C-MAX Hybrid the first hybrid vehicle to offer 47 mpg across the board. Also, hybrids traditionally have been more economical in city driving than on the highway, unlike conventional vehicles.

C-MAX Hybrid, however, returns the same fuel economy whether driving cross-country or across the city – stemming mostly from a growing list of Ford innovations that have helped the vehicle to deliver an impressive list of metrics, such as a top speed of up to 62 mph in EV mode.

“The all-new C-MAX Hybrid is a great symbol of how Ford has transformed into a fuel-economy and technology leader with 47 mpg across the board and a highway rating 7 mpg better than Toyota Prius v,” said Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj. “We’ve done this with innovation – represented by nearly 500 hybrid patents – while driving costs down 30 percent so we can bring these fuel-saving vehicles to more customers.”

Among the Ford innovations helping Tigard C-MAX Hybrid drivers enjoy maximum fuel economy are the patented SmartGauge® with EcoGuide that coaches for top fuel efficiency by providing growing green leaves in the gauge cluster as a reward for economical driving; and ECO Cruise, a feature that helps optimize powertrain elements for convenient yet economical highway travel.

City equals highway

Hybrid vehicle drivers traditionally saw superior fuel-economy figures in city driving, so loyalists maximized their fuel economy through regenerative braking in stop-and-go traffic. But now, higher-speed innovations have caught up on efficiency.

“City, highway and everywhere in between, C-MAX Hybrid is EPA-certified at 47 mpg,” Bakaj said. “It’s a win-win-win.”

C-MAX Hybrid is expected to be America’s most affordable hybrid utility vehicle with a base price of $25,995, including destination and delivery, which is $1,300 lower than Toyota Prius v. C-MAX Hybrid is currently available for order at select dealerships.

Portland 2013 Ford Fusion fans…keep an eye out for Random Acts of Fusion

The 2013 Ford Fusion will soon be in Portland at Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro. Who will be there to entertain you into considering the Fusion? Ryan Seacrest, amongst others, of course. For more information on the Ford Fusion in Portland, call (800) 783-0863.

Ford announces a new social consumer program for the highly anticipated all-new Ford Fusion that aims to shatter the bounds of immersive entertainment with “Random Acts of Fusion.” The unique transmedia marketing initiative promises to be as groundbreaking as the all-new Ford Fusion – a vehicle poised to dramatically change the face of the midsize car segment, delivering an entertaining and experiential introduction for the new sedan.

Random Acts of Fusion will star a number of personalities from consumers to celebrities – including Emmy Award-winning TV and radio host and producer Ryan Seacrest – as the program crisscrosses the country introducing the all-new Fusion to millions.

“It’s a privilege to partner with such a stellar multinational brand as Ford,” said Seacrest. “I’m excited to help Ford bring the Fusion to life through what I believe is going to be a very entertaining and surprising interactive consumer initiative.”

This unique initiative builds further on the success of out-of-the-box thinking that led to trailblazing Ford social consumer programs such as the Fiesta Movement and Escape Routes. Using transmedia storytelling, Ford will reach out to consumers with the new Fusion every day.

Unlike any other program before, Random Acts of Fusion will play out over time through a story arc across a variety of media channels that will be driven by digital and experiential while also including radio, broadcast and social media.

Through this innovative approach, countless people will have an opportunity to take part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the Fusion before it even arrives in dealer showrooms.

As time goes on, people will better understand why the program is titled Random Acts of Fusion and how that relates to the car itself.

“Life is all about acts – big and small – and through Random Acts of Fusion, this vehicle and program will take real people to unexpected places,” says Crystal Worthem, manager, Ford Brand Content & Alliances. “Consumers will have to work together to unlock the story, and as the program evolves, will have a chance to see for themselves how Fusion is able to transform the lives of the people who drive it.”

Consumers can start to piece the puzzle together by visiting the Ford Fusion Facebook page to find out more details this week.

Cross-platform storytelling pioneer 42 Entertainment in partnership with Team Detroit will play an integral role in developing Random Acts of Fusion. The program runs through the end of October.

 With its sleek new design, the 2013 Ford Fusion, for sale near Tigard at Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro, brings alive the next generation of more expressive vehicles from Ford.

In addition to its fresh face, the all-new Fusion offers the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment. It offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives, a pair of EcoBoost® four-cylinder engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive applications, and a choice between automatic and manually shifted six-speed transmissions.

On sale this fall, Fusion offers consumers seven must-have technologies, including a Lane-Keeping System, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and MyFord Touch®.

The new Fusion is the first vehicle from Ford’s new global CD platform. An all-new Mondeo for Europe and Asia will be introduced later this year and is scheduled to start arriving in dealerships next year. By 2015, more than 10 new products from this platform will account for approximately 1 million global vehicles each year.

Portland Ford F-150 Dealer Presents Power and Fuel Info on the 2012 F-150

All of the changes for the 2012 model year complement a powertrain lineup that debuted in 2011. The powertrain lineup delivers a mix of best-in-class fuel economy, horsepower, torque and capability. Ford is also the first and only manufacturer to equip its entire full-size pickup truck lineup with a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission as standard. Engine highlights include:

3.7-liter four-valve Ti-VCT V6:
  • Best-in-class 302 horsepower at 6,500 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Unsurpassed 278 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Best-in-class 17 mpg city and best-in-class 23 mpg highway (4×2)
  • Best-in-class 6,100 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. V6 competitors
5.0-liter four-valve DOHC Ti-VCT V8:
  • Best-in-class 360 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • Best-in-class 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • 21 mpg highway, unsurpassed 15 mpg city (4×2)
  • Best-in-class 10,000 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. standard V8 competitors
6.2-liter two-valve SOHC V8:
  • Best-in-class 411 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 434 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway (4×2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost:
  • 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel
  • Best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm vs. premium V8 competitors
  • Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm
  • 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg city (4×2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 3,120 pounds payload vs. all competitors

You can find the 2012 Ford F-150 in Portland at Portland Ford Dealer, Dick’s Mackenzie Ford in Hillsboro. We are part of Dick’s Auto Group. When you’re looking for a new or used Ford F-150 in Portland, pick Dick’s and save!