Can Ford beat the Chevy Volt two years later with a cheaper PHEV?



Will the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt and Ford Fiesta really compete with each other? Maybe not the two cars, but the underlying vehicle architectures will compete, and Greentech Media talked to Ford's chief engineer for global hybrid core engineering, Sherif Marakby, who said that his company's later, cheaper, smaller strategy will beat the competition. Ford will use the global C-segment platform (which includes the Fiesta) for its PHEV, and GM has spoken many times about using the Volt's Voltec powertrain in a variety of vehicles (see: Converj). Once the opening round goes to GM in November 2010, then things start to get a bit more interesting.

Marakby said that Ford's 2012 introduction date for its first plug-in hybrid and parallel hybrid architecture (the Volt is a series hybrid) will allow the Blue Oval's cars to be cheaper. For one thing, the batteries can be smaller. Plus, Ford isn't targeting the same 40 miles of electric range that the Volt has (maybe 20 or 30 miles?). By going the parallel hybrid route, Ford also expects to save money by use components from conventional hybrids.

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