This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Ford to Employ Toyota's Hybrid Electric Control Technology
Toyota Motor Corporation announced on March 9th that it has licensed its hybrid control technology to Ford Motor Company for use with Ford's hybrid electric system. While Ford's hybrid electric system will be used on the Escape Hybrid, the Toyota technology will provide the electronic controls for the system. Ford is also licensing Toyota's emission control technology for lean-burning engines. While lean-burning engines are more fuel-efficient, controlling air emissions from the engines is more difficult than in standard engines. Ford currently plans to begin selling the Escape Hybrid in late summer. See the Toyota press release.
According to a report released by ABI Research on March 15th, hybrids could make up 10 percent of U.S. midsize passenger vehicle sales by 2006. See the ABI Research press release.
Meanwhile, on March 8th both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army unveiled prototype vehicles that use a hydraulic energy-storage system rather than an electric system. The hydraulic systems provide a "launch assist" for heavy vehicles as they accelerate. The EPA unveiled a hybrid hydraulic sport utility vehicle (SUV) that it claims can achieve a 55 percent improvement in fuel economy over other SUVs, and the U.S. Army's National Automotive Center introduced a hybrid hydraulic military truck, called the SmarTruck III. Both vehicles were on display at the Society of Automotive Engineers' 2004 World Congress. See the EPA and U.S. Army announcements.