Ford is joining two European alternative fuel projects, PROCURA and BEST (BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport), underlining its commitment to bio-ethanol initiatives across the continent. As the leading manufacturer of environmentally advanced bio-ethanol powered flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) in Europe, Ford aims to take its expertise into these new multi-stakeholder initiatives with the ultimate goal of making mobility more sustainable.
PROCURA (derived from “procurement”) is a three-year project which started today in Utrecht (Netherlands). It follows the January 25 launch of the BEST initiative in Stockholm (Sweden). Both projects, partly funded by the European Union, assist the market development of alternative fuels and vehicles.
Through the establishment of large scale demonstration projects, the initiatives aim to provide a thorough understanding of the barriers and issues associated with the market penetration of alternative fuels and respective vehicle technologies in Europe. Project-members come from several areas, incl. the automotive and fuel industry, local and national government organizations, research institutions and fleet owners (public/private).
BEST, which focuses on bio-ethanol, has pilot projects planned or underway with Ford vehicles in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. PROCURA, which looks at bio-ethanol, bio-diesel and natural gas, is to establish test programs in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands. With these latest developments, Ford remains the pace-setting car manufacturer for ethanol-powered vehicles in Europe.
“The outstanding success of bio-ethanol as a fuel and the performance of Ford’s FFVs in Sweden is a prime example of what can be accomplished through co-operation and partnership between companies from different industries, local and national government and non-governmental organisations,” said Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, Governmental and Environmental Affairs, Ford of Europe.
“Only through concerted efforts will society be able to meet the complex challenge that sustainable development imposes on us. Ford views this not only as a challenge but also as a responsibility. This is why – amongst other things – we have decided to join the PROCURA and BEST initiatives,” he added.
Ford FFVs Forge Ahead in Europe
Latest figures have revealed that more than 17,000 Ford Focus and Focus C-MAX Flexi-Fuel models have been sold in Sweden, which, in 2001, became the first European country to introduce FFVs. This accounts for 80 per cent of all Focus sales in Sweden. And demonstrating a real shift in thinking, nearly 40 per cent of all Ford sales in Sweden now are FFVs.
Following this success in Sweden, Ford Focus Flexi-Fuel and Focus C-MAX Flexi-Fuel models are now on sale in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. The Focus Flexi-Fuel is also available in Austria and Ireland, and ready to be sold in France. Other countries are expected to follow.
FFVs are part of Ford’s broad portfolio of environmentally advanced vehicle technologies and its commitment to develop and offer them as an affordable alternative for our customers.
Ford’s Global Commitment
On September 21, 2005, Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford laid out his blueprint for the company’s future, focusing every aspect of the business on innovation as its core strategy going forward.
This included a commitment to FFVs throughout Ford’s global operations. In North America, for example, four vehicles for 2006 can run largely on ethanol (Ford F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car) with an expected production of up to 250,000 FFV units in 2006 there.
In Thailand, Ford has recently introduced a version of its successful Focus model capable of running on regular petrol as well as on a specific bio-ethanol/petrol blend offered in that market. In Brazil, bio-ethanol technology is already long established and FFVs are now the dominant vehicle technology.
In the past decade, Ford has put out more than 1.5 million ethanol-powered vehicles on the roads worldwide.
Source: Paddocktalk.com Febr. 14, 2006.