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Alternative Fuels and Powertrains

Our Sustainable Technologies and Alternative Fuels Plan includes the research and development of alternative powertrains and fuel options across all our vehicles, helping us go further through new capabilities.

Our Pathway to Lower-Carbon Options

Delivering on our promise to give customers the power of choice, we offer a range of powertrain and fueling options designed to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions, as well as improve fuel efficiency.

As part of our strategy to support global climate stabilization goals and a more sustainable product portfolio, we have developed a roadmap for migrating our vehicle technologies toward the use of lower-carbon fuel options (see graphic below).

Our Global Fuels Migration Path

In Place (2017)

Gasoline and Diesel

  • Growth of fossil fuel continues with developments in extraction technologies

Electricity (HEV, PHEV, BEV)

  • Electricity grids start to transition to low-fossil CO2 future

Renewable Biofuels

  • First generation biofuel production increases


  • CNG and LPG available in limited markets

Near Term (2020)

Electricity (HEV, PHEV, BEV)

  • Electricity grids continue to transition to low-CO2 future
  • Fleet programs confirm grid/infrastructure readiness for plug-in HEVs and BEVs

Renewable Biofuels

  • Second generation biomass-based fuels introduced at low volume
  • Renewable fuel capacity expands in select markets


  • CNG expands in commercial fleets and available in limited markets

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

  • Limited hydrogen fueling sites

Mid Term (2025)

Gasoline and Diesel

  • Gasoline/diesel fuel quality improvements

Electricity (HEV, PHEV, BEV)

  • Electricity grids continue to transition to low-CO2 future
  • Grid/infrastructure and standardization support expansion of plug-in HEVs and BEVs

Renewable Biofuels

  • Second generation biomass-based fuel production expands


  • CNG availability increases with demand and production capacity

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

  • Limited hydrogen fueling sites

Long Term (2030+)

Gasoline and Diesel

  • Further gasoline/diesel fuel quality improvements to support advanced vehicle technologies

Electricity (HEV, PHEV, BEV)

  • Clean electricity further enhances the benefit of plug-in HEVs and BEVs

Renewable Biofuels

  • Renewable fuel capacity expands in all markets


  • CNG from alternative/renewable sources
  • Increasing fraction of liquid renewable hydrocarbons in fuel portfolio

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

  • Potential to begin ramp-up of hydrogen/infrastructure

Electric Vehicles

Extending Our Electrification Plans

Watch a video about our all-new Police Responder Hybrid sedan.

Leading in electrification, as well as autonomy and connectivity, is critical to our expansion to both an automotive and a mobility company. Our extended electric vehicle strategy aligns with increasing calls for cleaner, more efficient vehicles, and we remain focused on delivering affordable electric vehicles at scale.

We already have nearly two decades of experience in electrification – vehicles that run on a battery-powered electric motor or a combination of electric and gasoline powertrains – and infrastructure to support this. And at the end of 2016, we were the top seller of plug-in hybrid vehicles and second largest seller of electric vehicles1 in the United States, having sold 560,000 electric vehicles globally.

Our $4.5 billion investment in electrification will support the introduction of 13 new electric vehicles; these include hybrid versions of the F-150 and Mustang, a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, two hybrid police vehicles and a fully electric small SUV by 2020, along with an autonomous hybrid vehicle designed for commercial ride-hailing or sharing by 2021. Globally, more than 40 percent of our nameplates will offer electric versions by 2020.

In expanding our electric vehicle efforts, we are also:

  • Testing hybrid taxi and van prototypes in a number of U.S. cities
  • Investing $700 million in the production of electric and autonomous vehicles, and creating 700 jobs, in our Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan
  • Expanding our battery development program into Europe and Asia
  • Using insights from 33,000 Ford electric vehicle owners to better understand how they use their vehicles

As well as focusing our efforts on areas of strength, such as commercial vehicles, trucks, utility and performance vehicles, we are looking at electric vehicle fleet management, route planning and telematics solutions, and piloting wireless recharging technology.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs are powered by both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor with a battery system. When using the electric motor and battery system only – at low speeds and for short distances, for example – they don’t consume gasoline. All our hybrid vehicles can run on battery power, on ICE power or a combination of both to optimize fuel efficiency. They have a regenerative braking system that captures energy, otherwise lost to braking, to recharge the battery. We are currently increasing our hybrid capability across our highest-volume global product platforms, including the Ford C-MAX, Ford Fusion, Ford Mondeo and Lincoln MKZ.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs are powered by an ICE and a high-voltage electric battery that, unlike HEVs, can be charged from a household or public electric outlet. When the battery is depleted, the vehicle functions as a standard HEV. PHEVs also accrue charge through regenerative braking and discharge it during use. This provides additional fuel savings and can reduce direct tailpipe emissions to zero when running on battery power. Our two PHEVs are the Fusion Energi and the Ford C-MAX Energi.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs use a high-voltage electric motor, powered by a battery pack. Their primary benefit is their lack of tailpipe CO2 and other emissions during use; however, they are not necessarily totally zero-emission over their entire life cycle, as this depends on the source of electricity used for charging. Our electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, offering better performance than the nickel-metal-hydride batteries they replaced. The new Focus Electric offers a projected 115-mile range on a single charge, and DC fast-charging capability able to deliver an 80 percent charge in around 30 minutes.

  Read our front page story for more information about how we’re delivering our electrification plans

Vehicles Powered by Alternative Fuels

Renewable Biofuel Vehicles

Biofuels made from renewable resources offer a relatively affordable way to reduce CO2 emissions. Two types are widely used:

  • Ethanol, primarily made from fermented corn sugars or sugar cane, is usually blended with gasoline. In the U.S., most retail market gasoline already contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10), while E85 (U.S. and Europe) and E22/E100 (Brazil) are also common

  • Biodiesel, made from soy, canola, rapeseed, corn or palm oil, or animal fats, is primarily mixed with fossil diesel. The most common blends are B5 and B20 (in the U.S.) and B7 (in Europe)

We also support the further development and expanded production of next-generation biofuels made from plant cellulose. These can cut GHG emissions significantly, and using stems and leaves from crops such as corn also reduces competition with food crops.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Vehicles

We offer engine packages specially prepared by qualified vehicle modifiers for conversion to compressed CNG and LPG on many vehicles. Typically, CNG and LPG vehicles have lower CO2 and life cycle GHG emissions than gasoline or diesel vehicles; they also have lower non-CO2 emissions. Vehicles with gaseous-prepped engines can be converted to CNG, LPG or to a bi-fuel system capable of running on either fuel or on conventional gasoline. We offer a wide range of commercial vehicles with CNG and LPG.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs)

FCVs are zero-emission electric-drive vehicles. The fuel cell system converts stored hydrogen to electricity, leaving only water and low-temperature heat as by-products. Through the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) in Vancouver, a joint venture with Daimler AG, we conduct research to overcome key barriers to commercialization including cost, durability and fuel infrastructure.

CO2 Savings vs. Gasoline (E10) in the U.S.

Powertrain/Fuel“Tank-to-wheels”6 CO2 emissions“Well-to-wheels”7 CO2 emissions

What’s Next in Alternative Fuels and Powertrains?

Transit Custom PHEV.

One of the electronic vehicles we’re adding to our portfolio, the PHEV Ford Transit Custom van, is the centerpiece of a multimillion-pound project designed to help improve air quality in London. The 12-month trial, featuring 20 vans running mainly on electric power for the majority of urban trips, will explore how PHEVs can contribute to cleaner air targets and address local transportation challenges.

To help facilitate the adoption of mass-market BEVs, we’ve also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BMW Group, Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group, Audi and Porsche to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. Starting in 2017, we aim to build a sizable number of ultra-fast charging stations to enable long-range travel for BEV drivers.

  Learn about our electrification strategy in China

  1. HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs.
  2. Average grid electricity mix.
  3. Ethanol from corn.
  4. Hydrogen from steam methane reforming of NG at central plant.
  5. Biodiesel from rapeseed (RME).
  6. 2015 US Vehicle efficiency from Elgowainy, A. et al. (2016) Argonne National Lab report number ANL/ESD-16/7.
  7. Well-to-tank from GREET 2015.
  8. PHEV has c.20 km all-electric range.