HEV/EV launch plans among Detroit Three and emerging American automakers

Ford partners with Toyota, GM with LG Group, to accelerate electric vehicle development efforts



 Below is a summary of HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), EV (Electric Vehicles) and PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) being developed and launched by the Detroit Three and emerging American automakers.

 General Motors is introducing a new-generation mild HEV eAssist system in 2011 and plans to adopt it in many midsize and small-size vehicles. GM will also make the system used in the Chevrolet Volt PHEV, launched at the end of 2010, available in several other models as well. GM's EV system will be incorporated, in 2013 at the earliest, in its small-size vehicles to be launched in Europe.

 In 2012, Ford will launch the C-Max HEV and PHEV taking electricity from lithium-ion battery. As for EVs, Ford started producing the Transit Connect Van EV at the end of 2010 and will introduce the Ford Focus EV toward the end of 2011.

 In 2009, Chrysler discontinued the production of the Durango and Aspen two-mode HEVs. Chrysler has no HEVs at present, but has announced plans to launch HEV versions of the Chrysler 300 and minivans in 2013. The company will also launch the Fiat 500 EV in the United States in 2012.

 Ford has announced a plan to develop a HEV system for the next light truck model jointly with Toyota. Likewise, GM has a plan to develop battery systems and EV-related technologies jointly with LG Group. Both groups aim to reduce the development lead time and cost, extending the lineup of their electric vehicles.

 Among the emerging automakers, Tesla Motors that introduced a high-end sports-car Roadster EV in the fall of 2008, was followed by Fisker Automotive that launched the Karma PHEV in 2011. Both companies entered the EV/PHEV market with high-end vehicles and are now preparing midsize cars that are likely to sell in larger quantities. Wheego Electric Cars has launched a compact two-seat EV.

 Other emerging automakers having announced launch plans in the EV and PHEV markets in 2011 to 2012 are Coda Automotive (midsize sedan EV), Li-ion Motors (super sports-car EV, commuter EV) and Bright Automotive (commercial van PHEV).

 A new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) has been adopted in the United States requiring raising the fuel economy to 35.5 mpg for MY 2016. In addition, President Obama has proposed 54.5 mpg for MY 2025 along with a goal to have one million units of EVs and PHEVs on American roads by 2015.