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As Climate Crisis Threatens, Does Ford Have Something to Hide About its Stance on Emissions Regulations?

As Climate Crisis Threatens, Does Ford Have Something to Hide About its Stance on Emissions Regulations?

Madeline Page, Rachel Curley

With warnings about the climate crisis becoming more dire at every turn, it’s clear that we have to act. And fast. Shamefully, iconic American brands like Ford are not demonstrating leadership in the face of this problem, rather they have remained intransigent.

For a minute I thought this was going to be about another Ford - the AGW-denialist Ford who is ruling Ontario. He is also playing very coy about his denialism - even as he has dismantled every measure enacted by the Province (almost all environmental regulation in Canada takes place at the provincial level) to take action on global warming.

All societies, whether industrially modern or more rural agrarian, to a lesser or greater degree depend upon travel and transport to conduct occupations that provide essential commodities, food, housing, clothing, clean water supply and sewage treatment, medical care, etc. Transport and travel today have reached a level of waste and pollution that cannot be considered sustainable. Executive directors at Ford, GM and other carmakers are well aware of this fact, yet, they propose no credible plan for reducing the life threatening impacts of car-dependency.

It seems that car-related business interests are preparing for survival of the richest. I make that bold statement to address a conundrum that GM/Ford in particular have built into their business model of recently cancelling the Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrid models. Contrary to popular belief, plug-in hybrid PHEVs have more potential to reduce fuel/energy consumption and CO2 emissions than all-battery BEVs.

This counter-intuitive claim can be seen more clearly by measuring consumption of both EV types with trucking thrown in. Daimler Trucks is now ready to produce 2 models of all-battery truck with a 325kwh and a 550kwh pack. The Tesla sport sedan has an 85kwh pack. A Ford Fusion/Toyota Prius have 5kwh packs that achieve an ‘effective’ 100+mpg. An inequitable distribution of battery pack and charge resources mirrors the Occupy chant of the 99%. We can charge 1 big freight truck, 6 Tesla ‘S’ coupes, or 110 plug-in hybrids. It appears that GM & Ford are cancelling their hybrid models to direct resources to a few and leave the rest without the means to conduct vitally important activities.

Note that every household with an EV in the garage gains an emergency backup power supply. Note that small 5kwh plug-in hybrid battery packs are an ideal match to rooftop PV solar arrays; small battery = small PV array and simpler electric componentry. Note that hybrids are less dependent upon grid reliability and less prone to grid overload as well as less vulnerable to grid failure. The smaller hybrid battery pack can extend its use for years as a ‘stationary’ household low-power source. When either BEV or PHEV packs must be replaced at roughly 100,000 miles, the PHEV replacement is less expensive and the Tesla pack is impractical to extend its use as a stationary low-power supply.

Well then, what about mass transit? Here too GM & Ford show no interest in modern mass transit. Rather, just the opposite is evident with their common paratransit lift vans purchased by municipalities and private operators. These vans are 1970’s technology that even back then were obsolete. Seniors and disabled need easy boarding low-floor and low-emission rides, but do GM & Ford care? I don’t think so. Current paratransit lift vans get about 10mpg. Built on an obsolete chassis, they do not handle very well safely nor comfortably. A replacement model is long overdue that could triple the gas mileage and more amenable for all transit patrons. This replacement could replace at least half the fleets of 40’ buses spewing diesel loudly at 4mpg unfit for transit use most hours. I believe GM & Ford are intentionally restricting the potential of mass transit technology which would cut into their car sales profit margins, to hell with the public interest.

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Battery-electric transit buses are now being built and being adopted by many cities. And new diesels run much cleaner. Visible smoke or odor from the buses in my area are a thing of the past. In my city, there are very few routes where it is practical to replace full-size buses with mini buses even during off-peak or it would be impractical to maintain parallel fleets for use of smaller buses during off-peak hours.

Bear in mind that Ford will cease to exist if it doesn’t turn a profit.

They make their money on the largest-selling vehicle in the country: The extremely high profit margin, F-150. Their customer base loves pickups – so tell me what Ford’s strategy should be going forward. I’m asking in all due respect.

When raking in money to turn a profit is the main objective, any argument defending that short-sighted objective is like pissing in the wind. I’ve always been a “Ford guy” because Ford vehicles, as I see them, are rated as utility without frills, without performance add-ons, without brash claims of being tougher or faster than other cars and trucks. I didn’t like your reply, Skeptic, because it didn’t come close to an answer to the bigger question posed: Are all car makers aware of the hazards car dependency poses? Our political FIGHT is against automobile and high-tech interests who are transforming humanity into something more like machinery. Isaac Asimov wrote stories about a future of androids, not because he believed that future would eventually, inevitably occur. Asimov’s robot androids were a metaphor for humans dependent upon machines.

When I use transit, I’m disappointed with infrequent bus service. To solve that problem, I suggest smaller buses run between 40’ buses during rush hours. Full size, fully loaded, 40’ buses would run limited stop Express or bus rapid transit BRT at those hours. Between the larger, faster buses, smaller buses would make more local stops for quick stop and faster acceleration back into traffic. Off rush hours, these smaller, more fuel efficient buses have enough capacity to serve growing demand. Basicly, I’m gunning for Ford & GM to get their heads out of their ass and produce transit vehicles that reach higher world class standards.

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Henry Ford said ethanol is the fuel of the future. His model T was built to run on gasoline and/or ethanol. Ford makes flex fuel vehicles and is a major producer in Brazil that by law have to be able to use 100% ethanol. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySnk-f2ThpE
http://www.permaculture.com/node/518
In the movie “Pump” you will learn that all fuel injected cars can run on 50% ethanol today. A soft ware change is all that is needed to make a modern car run on 100% ethanol. i was facing a $500 bill for a EGR valve change. A half tank of E85 cleaned it up and 30,000 miles later it is still good. The carbon in ethanol was photosynthesized this year so does not add to pollution or global warming.

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That’s a much better answer than I got from Wellan. Thanks.

A rule of thumb to compare a standard ICE drivetrain to a plug-in hybrid:
The same engine paired to a hybrid drive increases fuel economy 25% due to strict regulation of engine speed and load. A plug-in hybrid adds a small battery pack which effectively doubles that mileage. A standard ICE drivetrain of 30mpg gets 40mpg in a hybrid and an effective 80mpg in a plug-in hybrid. Yet, a plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion is rated at 105mpg. Sorry, you’re wrong, Sandman. Awhile back, the LA Times published an article titled “The 500mpg Solution.” Depending upon how far and how fast on average we drive a plug-in hybrid, the less the engine need run. Any basic plug-in hybrid can achieve an effective 500mpg and in the process reduce traffic.
Who are you working for, Sandman, General fucking Motors?

Sandman’s standard engine running with E85 would get about 1/3 the gas mileage of a plug-in hybrid. Read my further explanation to Sandman of that fact.

A plug-in hybrid can achieve an effective 500mpg.