Fuel-economy and emissions regulations are pushing automakers to find new, innovative ways of getting better fuel economy figures out of cars. In addition to offering a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine with cylinder deactivation on the new Focus, the automaker will also offer a mild-hybrid powertrain for the compact vehicle.
According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Ford is set to introduce a 48-volt mild-hybrid variant of the new Focus in Europe in 2020. “48 volt is a really big deal for us,” said Jim Farley, the automaker’s global head of markets, at the Focus’ global unveiling earlier this month. “It’s a volume play, not just on this vehicle but across the board.”
A mild-hybrid system, like the one Ford will put into the new Focus, doesn’t add as much fuel efficiency as a traditional hybrid powertrain, but does take some load off of the engine. The setup can power accessories or give the motor an extra burst of power under acceleration.
The outlet didn’t state whether the vehicle would be sold in the United States, but claimed that Ford would market the vehicle differently for various parts of the world. Considering Ford’s widely expanded emphasis on electrification for its future products, offering the system in the US makes sense – whether Ford could justify the investment in a crossover-obsessed market, though, is another question all together.
Roelant de Waard, Ford’s head of sales and marketing, told Auto News Europe that the Focus with the mild-hybrid system would appeal to some because of its low CO2 emissions. In other markets, though, he believes the setup could be a premium feature as it would bring some more power to the vehicle.
Ford isn’t the only automaker that’s looking into a mild-hybrid layout for its vehicles. Mercedes-Benz, the Volkswagen Group umbrella, Ram, and Jeep have introduced or have plans to launch 48-volt mild-hybrid systems in their vehicles in the future.