Ford's Electrifying Future and Taxi Hopes-Detroit Auto Show

Within the next three years, Ford said this week at the North American International Auto Show, the automaker is planning to release two electric-vehicle projects, along with its next generation of hybrid vehicles.. The first project involves a tie-up with Tanfield, a British electric automaker, to produce battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect. These are commercial vehicles sold in Europe that Ford is lanching this year in the U.S. The second is a small battery-electric passenger car made in conjunction with Magna International. The car, which is scheduled for production in 2011, will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and have a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge, Ford said. Adter taking a backseat to both Toyota and GM (and it’s Volt car due in 2010), Ford has been catching up on “electrifying” headlines after announcing that its 2010 Fusion Hybrid, on sale in April, gets 41 mpg in city driving, six mpg better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid and 15 mpg better than Chevy Malibu Hybrid. Ford has high hopes for the Transit Connect as a taxi cab to perhaps displace the Ford Crown Victoria, whose future is thought to be limited as both a taxi and police car. The Transit taxi hopes had been dealt a setback when New York City Mayor Bloomberg tried to mandate that all taxis be hybrids. When a court knocked that down, it gave some Ford executives new hope of making the case for the Transit Connect, which gets better fuel economy than the Crown Vic. The Transit, larger and roomier than a Crown Vic would, in my opinion, make the best cab in the U.S. outside of a limo. With a hybrid in the offing, maybe Ford can satisfy taxi passengers, as well as Mayor Bloomberg.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.