In a recent interview with Reuters, Nancy Gioia, Ford’s hybrid vehicle manager, said the company wanted to focus on refining their PHEV systems before offering them to consumers.
“This is really a system that has to come together,” she said, “and its not just; ‘Throw some product out there.'”
Ford’s biggest concerns, shared with other automakers developing similar vehicles, lies with battery technology.; PHEVs run on electricity for as long as possible, which mandates large battery capacities but small battery sizes.; That’s what makes lithium ion cells attractive – but they’re still in a state of development.
“If you build your plug-in hybrid and the battery only lasts five years, how much is your vehicle worth? Nothing,” Gioia said. “The battery replacement costs will exceed the residual value of the vehicle.”
To help test the batteries (and the entire PHEV powertrain) in the real world, 20 plug-in Ford Escape Hybrids have been built, but will be offered only to electric utilities.