Comparing Electrification Technologies

Electrified vehicle technologies range from conventional gas-engine vehicles with a start-stop function (sometimes referred to as micro hybrids), to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric (or “all-electric”) vehicles (BEVs). These technologies have different benefits and different ideal driving conditions. We believe it is important to offer customers a range of fuel-efficient and reduced-emission vehicles, including efficient traditional gas-powered vehicles and electrified vehicle options. We are also committed to helping customers understand the relative advantages of different vehicle options based on their driving needs. We call this approach the “power of choice.”

In a recent national survey, we found that nearly half of Americans are confused about green vehicle options, with 46 percent not knowing the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicle. This Sustainability Report is one of the key mechanisms we use to inform customers about the different electrified-vehicle options. We are also working with on a series of short films aimed at clarifying the different technologies for consumers. Ford also has an electrified-vehicle website to help consumers understand the key features of and differences between electrified-vehicle options. And, we explain the range of interactive tools available to drivers of our electrified vehicles on our website. We are also reinforcing our power-of-choice product offerings through a “Go Further” tour that helps consumers learn more about electrified vehicles in an engaging, interactive atmosphere. Through all of these communication channels, we seek to help customers decide what vehicle technology is best for them.

The chart below compares a range of vehicle types, from conventional gasoline to pure battery electric. In the near term and mid-term, the largest volume of electrified vehicles will likely be hybrid electric vehicles, 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 2.8 percent of the market for new vehicles in 2012. In the longer term, electrified vehicles that get some or all of their energy directly from the electric grid – including PHEVs and 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 currently offers (e.g., the Ford Focus, C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi and Focus Electric). Because no single Ford model is available with all of these alternative propulsion concepts, these values are approximate for comparison purposes only and do not reflect values for actual products.

  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 120-volt (V) outlet or a 240V charging station. When the battery is depleted, the PHEV runs like a regular HEV.2 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. Suitable for customers who have access to a 120V outlet or 240V charging station at home and/or the office. Can provide approximately 20 miles in pure electric mode, but is flexible for longer trips as well. Ideal for customers with access to a charging station 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 ˜31mpg ˜32 mpg ˜47 mpg5 combined city and highway 100 MPGe6 (combined city and highway) in electric mode. Similar to HEV when running on gasoline in hybrid mode. 105 MPGe7
Range on tank/charge8 ˜380 miles/tank ˜470 miles/tank ˜570 miles/tank ˜620 miles on combined gas and electric power. More than 1,200 miles between visits to a gas station in typical use. Up to 76 miles on a charge
Fueling/charging time Minutes Minutes Minutes Minutes for gasoline; 2.5 hours with a 240V outlet and 7 hours with a 120V outlet. 4 hours with a 240V outlet if equipped with a 6.6 kW charge port
CO2 emissions9
Well to tank10 ˜50 g/km ˜50 g/km ˜35 g/km ˜40 g/km n/a
Tank to wheels11 ˜165 g/km ˜160 g/km ˜110 g/km ˜110 g/km n/a
Total CO212 ˜215g/km ˜210 g/km ˜145 g/km ˜145 g/km13 ˜130 g/km
Annual fuel cost ˜$1,200–1,90014 ˜$1,200–1,90015 ˜$800–1,30016 ˜$600–900 ($400–700 for gasoline + $200 for electricity)17 ˜$40018
  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 6 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. MPGe or miles per gallon equivalent for electric vehicles is calculated based on the 33.7 kWh energy content of a gallon of gasoline.
  7. MPGe or miles per gallon equivalent for electric vehicles is calculated based on the 33.7 kWh energy content of a gallon of gasoline.
  8. All estimates are based on a 13.5-gallon tank except for the BEV, which has no fuel tank.
  9. In vehicles using internal combustion engines, the fuel feedstock is assumed to be petroleum gasoline.
  10. Well-to-tank emissions represent the CO2 generated by excavating feedstocks and producing and distributing the fuel.
  11. Tank-to-wheels emissions represent the CO2 generated by burning the fuel in the vehicle.
  12. Total CO2 is the sum of the well-to-tank, tank-to-wheels and electricity generation emissions. The PHEV total CO2 emissions are weighted by the share of miles traveled in electric and gasoline modes.
  13. Total CO2 for the PHEV assumes an all-electric range of 20 miles and a utility factor of 48 percent (SAE J2841). The utility factor indicates the percentage of distance the vehicle is driven using electricity.
  14. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 31 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  15. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 32 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  16. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 47 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  17. Based on 12,000 miles/year, 50 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 50 percent in gasoline-engine mode at 43 mpg and $3–5/gallon.
  18. 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.


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