Comparing Electrification Technologies

A range of vehicle types, from conventional gasoline to pure electric, is shown in the table below. In the near term and mid-term, the largest volume of electrified vehicles will likely be hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which use both a gasoline engine and a battery electric motor but do not plug into the electric grid. In the U.S., HEVs made up approximately 2.4 percent of the market for new vehicles in 2010.

In the longer term, electrified vehicles that get some or all of their energy directly from the electric grid, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), are likely to play an increasingly significant role. The table below provides a generalized overview of the relative benefits and impacts of these different electrified vehicle technologies, based on typical compact C-class vehicles similar to those Ford is currently offering, or has announced will be produced in the near future, such as the Focus, C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi and Focus Electric.

  Conventional Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV) Conventional ICEV with Start/Stop Technology1 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Technology overview Traditional gas or diesel engine. Traditional gas or diesel engine and powertrain with stop/start capability, which shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stopped and automatically restarts it before the accelerator pedal is pressed to resume driving. Regenerative brake recharging improves fuel economy. Uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Can run exclusively on battery power, exclusively on gas power or on a combination of both. Also has stop/start capability and regenerative braking. Uses a high-capacity battery that can be charged from an ordinary household 110-volt outlet. When the battery is depleted, the PHEV runs like a regular HEV2. Uses only a battery-powered electric motor, no gas or diesel engine. Runs entirely on electricity from batteries, which can be charged from household outlets or specialized charging stations.
Ideal driving conditions Flexible for a wide range of uses. Flexible for a wide range of uses. Improved fuel economy in urban driving. Flexible for a wide range of uses. Excellent urban fuel economy and improved highway fuel economy. Flexible for a wide range of uses. Dramatically improved fuel economy in city driving. Suitable for customers who have access to a plug at home and/or the office with daily trips around 30 miles between charges, but flexibility for longer trips as well. Ideal for customers with access to a plug at home or work who have shorter, predictable daily trips of less than 80 miles (between charges).
Technology Benefits/Costs Based on a Typical Compact or “C-class” Sedan3
Fuel economy4 (Roughly real-world fuel economy for a compact sedan) ˜33mpg ˜35 mpg ˜49 mpg5 Not applicable. Similar to HEV when running on gasoline. No gasoline used when running on electricity from the grid. Not applicable.
Range on tank/charge6 ˜450 miles/tank ˜470 miles/tank ˜660 miles/tank ˜690 miles on combined gas and electric power. More than 1,200 miles between visits to a gas station in typical use. Up to 80 miles on a charge.
Fueling/charging time Minutes Minutes Minutes

Minutes for gasoline

2–4 hours with a 220-volt outlet and 4–8 hours with a 110-volt outlet.

3–4 hours with a 240-volt outlet
CO2 emissions7
Well to tank ˜35 g/km ˜30 g/km ˜25 g/km Current grid:8
˜100 g/km
Current grid:8
˜130 g/km
Tank to wheels ˜170 g/km ˜160 g/km ˜110 g/km Current grid:8
˜30 g/km
Current grid:8
0 g/km
Well to wheels9 ˜205 g/km ˜190 g/km ˜135 g/km10 Current grid:8
˜130 g/km11
Current grid:8
˜130 g/km12
Annual fuel cost ˜$1,100–$1,80013 ˜$1,000–$1,70014 ˜$700–120015 ˜$500 ($200 gasoline+$300 electricity)–$650 ($350 gasoline+$300 electricity)16 ˜$40017

Below is a detailed look at the components that will make up the new electrified vehicles.

Ford Focus Electric

* Image based on prototype, not production vehicle.

Motor Controller and Inverter

The motor controller monitors the motor’s position, speed, power consumption and temperature. Using this information and the throttle command by the driver, the motor controller and inverter convert the DC voltage supplied by the battery to three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor.

High Voltage Electric HVAC Compressor

The high voltage air conditioning system is specifically designed for hybrid vehicle applications, drawing electrical energy directly from the main battery pack. An inverter is included in the compressor.

Electric Water Pump

The electric drive water pump circulates coolant for the traction motor, inverters, battery and heater.

Traction Motor

The traction motor performs the conversion between electrical and mechanical power. Electric motors also have efficiencies three times higher than that of a standard gasoline engine, minimizing energy loss and heat generation.

Electric Power Steering

An electro-hydraulic steering pump was installed to assist a retuned steering rack. A production vehicle would be designed with electric power steering.


The transmission has the identical role as in a conventional vehicle; however, it has different design considerations due to the higher RPM range available from the electric motor and increased emphasis on efficient and silent operation. The transmission is a single-speed unit with a 5.4:1 reduction.

Modular Powertrain Cradle

This is a structure for monitoring all engine compartment EV components and providing isolation from the vehicle body through traditional engine mounts.

Electric Vacuum Pump

The vacuum pump supplies vacuum to the brake system for power assist.

High Voltage PTC Electric Coolant Heater and Controller

Heating systems are specifically designed for hybrid vehicle applications. Energy-efficient PTC technology is used to heat the coolant that circulates to the passenger car heater. Heat also may be circulated to the battery.

Vehicle Control Unit

The vehicle control unit (VCU) communicates with the driver as well as each individual vehicle system to monitor and control the vehicle according to the algorithms developed by the vehicle integration team. The VCU manages the different energy sources available and the mechanical power being delivered to the wheels to maximize range.

Battery Pack and Battery Cells

The battery pack is made up of seven battery modules of 14 cells – 98 cells total for 23 kWh of power. The batteries are air cooled using existing vehicle cabin air. The pack includes an electronic monitoring system that manages the temperature and state of charge of each of the cells.

AC Charger

Power electronics are used to convert the off-vehicle AC source from the electrical grid to the DC voltage required by the battery, thus charging the battery to its full state of charge in a matter of hours. The current charger is air cooled. The production design will accommodate both 110 and 220 voltage sources.

DC-DC Converter

A DC-DC converter allows the vehicle’s main battery pack to charge the on-board 12V battery, which powers the vehicle’s various accessories, headlights and so forth.

  1. Some automakers consider this a form of hybrid vehicle. However, Ford views and is implementing these technologies as part of our strategy to improve the fuel economy of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. We assume start/stop technology can provide up to 10 percent fuel economy improvement in city driving.
  2. Another type of PHEV, often called an Extended Range Electric Vehicle, runs entirely on battery power until the battery is depleted, and then the onboard gas-powered engine runs to recharge the battery. The wheels are driven only by the electric motor, and the engine’s sole purpose is to recharge the battery.
  3. These numbers are for comparison purposes only. They are based on modeling and testing calculations and do not necessarily represent the numbers that would be achieved in real-world driving conditions, nor do they represent actual products that Ford currently makes or may produce.
  4. The internal-combustion engine fuel economy estimate is based on the calculation used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop Combined Fuel Economy (city/highway) values for the labels affixed to new vehicles. The Combined Fuel Economy value is intended to represent the approximate fuel economy that most consumers can expect based on a typical mix of city and highway driving. Estimates for the other technologies are based on the metro-highway drive cycle used for the U.S. fuel-economy regulations. Fuel economy calculations for all of the technologies are based in U.S. gallons and on U.S. drive cycles.
  5. In general, HEVs deliver approximately 40–50 percent better fuel economy than comparably sized non-hybrids.
  6. All estimates are based on a 13.5-gallon tank except for the BEV, which has no fuel tank.
  7. In vehicles using internal combustion engines, the fuel feedstock is assumed to be petroleum gasoline.
  8. “Current grid” assumes average current emissions from U.S. power generation.
  9. “Well to wheels” carbon dioxide (CO2) includes all CO2 emissions generated in the process of producing the fuel or electricity as well as the CO2 emissions created by burning the fuel in the vehicle itself. It is useful to break this down into “well to tank” emissions, which measure the CO2 emissions generated by excavating the feedstocks and producing and distributing the fuel or electricity, and “tank to wheels” emissions, which include the CO2 generated by burning the fuel in the vehicle. “Well to tank” emissions are based on the GREET v. 1.8d.0 model developed by the Argonne National Lab. “Tank to wheels” calculations are based on Ford’s estimates using the metro-highway drive cycle and energy use for a C-class electric vehicle.
  10. In HEVs, the fuel feedstock is assumed to be petroleum gasoline.
  11. In PHEVs, the “well to tank” emissions are based on the percentage of emissions from gasoline fuel production and distribution and electric power generation, and the “tank to wheels” emissions are based on the percentage of time the vehicle is driven using gasoline.
  12. In BEVs, “well to tank” emissions include emissions related to electric-power generation, and “tank to wheels” emissions are zero, because no CO2 is produced by running the vehicle on batteries charged with electrical power.
  13. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 33 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  14. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 35 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  15. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 49 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  16. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 70 percent in electric mode at 3.5 miles/kWh (midpoint of range of 3–4 miles/kWh in electric mode) and 12 cents/kWh, and 30 percent in gasoline-engine mode at 49 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  17. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 3.5 miles/kWh (midpoint of range of 3–4 miles/kWh for a typical BEV) and 12 cents/kWh.