Ford hybrid and electric cars vs GM Volt electric car


I propose the subject of comparing the major US car manufacturers when talking about environmentally propulsion.

Existing situation on the market:
Nowadays, the Japanese constructors are well ahead others in having electric cars.  Honda and Toyota have the dominating positions in our top and they are announcing more to come in the following year. US manufacturers are late, one probable reason was that in  the US the fuel price is not as high as in other parts of the globe. But the situation changed last year petrol costing way-more than 100 $/barrel, and even now that the fuel price is low, the economical crisis hitting the world is forcing the people to look for more economical cars.

What’s to come?
Here we have the American biggest producers trying to follow the competition in this game, it’s the game of meeting the future with selling cars that follow customers cost needs.

GM already announced their electric car: Volt. Until now, Ford had an electric car but it was built on the hydrogen fuel cell.
Later Ford told us about their plans: having a complete electric car, with no fossil fuel engine.

When?
Ford:

  • full commercial electric van – 2010
  • full electric small car – 2011
  • plug-in hybrid – 2012

GM:    Volt hybrid – late 2010

Technology behind the name
There are differences in the way Ford and GM sees the things. The cars are a little different.
Ford wants to play on the complete electrical engine (no gas engine) with models being released in the next 2 years. They will drive 100 miles without charging. Another direction Ford work for are the plug-in hybrids electric vehicle (PHEV). This is a hybrid (so it also has a fossil engine) and an electric engine that can be plugged and charged “on the way”, so you can recharge the batteries and have a wider range. In Ford version of the plug-in hybrid, the gas engine works direct with the wheels, transmitting energy directly.
GM’s hybrid cars use an internal combustion engine to create electricity. The car has batteries so for short ranges it will work only with the electric engine. When one needs to go further, the fossil fuel engine will create the electricity for this.

Interpreting position of the 2 manufacturers
Talking about Ford and GM hybrids, the analysts say that Ford is bidding on the classic engine, trying not to change completely the car. As the gas price is still low and they expect it to maintain the low price, with little increases, the car is suitable for population.
GM makes one step further going to moving the car with electric engine.

What’s better?
It is a something to be seen. The price of the cars, how fossil fuel price goes up are 2 major factors in this decision.
The third thing to consider is if the federal government will force the manufacturers to have a lot more fuel-efficient cars. That might force manufacturers to use more and more the electrical power to move the cars.

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