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Archive for June, 2009

Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability…..from game plan to execution

Posted by carsdiva on June 10, 2009

Just recently I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with my dear friend, John Viera, Ford’s Director of Sustainable Business Strategies, for an update on where this “blueprint” stands. (If you remember, last August I was in Detroit where I got an in-depth explanation of the plan.) This time, John came to his hometown, Chicago, to give a status update, which I was delighted to hear showed positive progress on Ford’s behalf. Another point John touched on was Ford Fusionthat many of the European small cars are being introduced in the U.S., known as “global cars”, (think Fiesta), and Ford expects to have 6 global vehicles by the year 2012.

Drive Green: Go farther, Use Less

Did you know that the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is North America’s most fuel-efficient midsize car? In fact, the Ford Fusion Hybrid gets better gas mileage than the Toyota Camry! (8 miles per gallon more to be exact!) After hearing all about the Fusion, John went on to discuss Ford’s electrification strategy, explaining that there are (3) phases. Currently, many Ford vehicles are equipped with the EcoBoost engine, (typically a V8 engine is replaced with a V6 EcoBoost), which is essentially an optimized version of the traditional gasoline engine. So in conclusion, the EcoBoost increases fuel efficiency and decreases CO2 emissions without compromising performance. Fabulous. They didn’t neglect the fundamentals.

In talking about the electrification strategy, John explained that phase one is the hybrid vehicle, which makes use of a CarsDiva & Ford Fusion folksgasoline engine and an electric battery, where the electric battery is charged by the engine. Phase two is the plug-in hybrid which takes the technology a bit further, and the more sophisticated electric battery is charged by plugging the vehicle in to a standard household outlet. And lastly, phase three is the [all] battery-powered electric vehicle, which makes use of a more powerful battery and is totally non-polluting. John made sure to highlight that a key part of Ford’s strategy is “affordable technology”, meaning that Ford is not only working on advancing the electric technology in vehicles, but refining the details to make it affordable for consumers. Cheers to thinking strategically!

Later that week…

Ford Fusion & CarsDivaOn Sunday, I ventured to the suburbs where Ford held a consumer product launch event, which nonetheless complemented my visit with John. Nationwide in all the major cities, Ford introduced the new 2010 Ford Fusion, which included a hybrid model. Luckily for Ford (and me), it was a beautifully sunny day in the windy city, and I had no problems taking the Fusion Hybrid for a spin.  I must say- I was impressed! First off, for those of you that have never driven a hybrid, it’s such a weird feeling to turn on the car without the traditional “choking” sound of the engine. And then as you step on the gas, you feel as if you’re in neutral in a manual car, simply coasting along. But don’t let the glide-effect fool you- the vehicle had decent pick up and felt heavy and sturdy on the road.

Another exciting feature in the Fusion Hybrid was Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide…. What, you may ask, is that? Ford guys & CarsDiva in front of the FusionWell it’s a new technology implemented in the instrument cluster that allows drivers to optimize performance of their hybrid. It displays information like the fuel and battery power levels, average and instant miles-per-gallon, and fluctuates while the vehicle is moving so the driver can determine when (at what speed) they are driving most efficiently.

Red Carpet Treatment

And the icing on the cake? I was given VIP passes to a special American Idol season finale party, which was hosted by Ford, and Chicago’s own 103.5 Kiss FM radio station. Alright so I may not be a die-hard America Idol fan, BUT it was definitely fun to watch the finale red-carpet style, alongside a few folks from Ford who gave me American Idol Finale with Fordanother recap of the Fusion after the event. To give you a bit of background- Ford teamed up with American Idol to showcase the new Fusion. The Ford sponsorship included a sweepstakes in which attendees at the Fusion launch event were entered to win a one-off American Idol Edition Ford Fusion Hybrid. And if you hadn’t already heard, Ford generously surprised the two Idol finalists, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, with brand new Ford Fusion hybrids! (Not bad, eh? ….well, I wouldn’t complain…)Kiss FM at AI finale

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