Nov 7 2005
As fuel prices soar at the pumps and energy security remains a concern, Ford Motor Company is announcing a first-of-a-kind partnership with VeraSun Energy Corporation, a renewable energy company. This partnership builds on a commitment to American innovation made in a speech delivered by Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford to employees on Sept. 21. The initiative will expand the fueling infrastructure to support flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).
"Ford is working on innovative solutions to customer concerns over high gas prices and America's overdependence on foreign oil," said Ford. "Ethanol is an innovative energy source straight from the heartland of America. Ford has produced flexible fuel vehicles for over a decade now, with more than a million on the road. Our introduction of four new models - producing up to 250,000 in 2006 - reinforces our commitment. Fueling infrastructure for our customers, however, is lagging. We look forward to partnering with VeraSun and encouraging retail fuel providers to incorporate E85 fuel options in their operations."
With approximately five million FFVs on the road today, E85 has great potential as an alternative fuel. E85 is an alternative transportation fuel made from a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that can be used in FFVs. Only about 500 of the more than 180,000 fuel stations in the U.S. currently offer E85. Ford and VeraSun will increase the number of stations offering E85, particularly in Midwest markets where ethanol availability is growing.
"Increasing FFV production and E85 use represent the best near-term solution to significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The two greatest challenges facing greater E85 use are access to convenient fueling locations and a lack of consumer awareness," said Bill Honnef, vice president, Sales and Marketing, VeraSun. "Because flexible fuel vehicles can run on both gasoline and E85, most FFV owners are not aware they are driving an FFV and simply use gasoline. Our research indicates that nearly 70 percent of flexible fuel vehicle owners are unaware they are driving one. With Ford as a partner, we believe we can make great strides in both areas."
The Ford/VeraSun partnership will concentrate on growing the E85 infrastructure in 2006. The initiative will serve to convert existing fuel pumps to VeraSun's branded E85 - VE85 - in existing retail outlets. A consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits and use of E85 will also be launched. Local retail outlets and Ford dealerships will be asked to participate in the campaign.
"Innovation - in safety, in the environment, in design and in technological solutions to real world problems - is going to be reclaimed as our natural birthright," Ford said. "It will be the guiding compass of everything we do." Flexible fuel vehicles have been a key part of Ford's alternative fuel strategy. Long-term, ethanol is an important step toward development of more efficient, future renewable biofuels that can provide energy security as well as environmental benefits.
Ford is offering four new models with the flexible fuel technology option for 2006, including America's best-selling vehicle - the Ford F-150. The Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car also offer the E85 option.
Consumers can learn more about the benefits of E85 use find E85 stations and determine if they own an FFV by visiting www.E85Fuel.com.