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Ford's New Lithium-Ion Batteries Reduce the Use of Expensive Rare Earth Metals

Ford’s new third-generation hybrid system is debuting this fall in models like the Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids.

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Ford’s new third-generation hybrid system is debuting this fall in models like the Fusion and C-Max hybrids. Unlike earlier hybrid systems that relied on nickel-metal-hydride batteries, the new system uses lithium-ion batteries that are lighter and more efficient. According to Ford, the new batteries could also reduce the company’s use of expensive, less-abundant rare earth metals by up to 500,000 pounds a year.
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By lowering the use of expensive rare earth metals, the cost of the new batteries has been reduced by about 30 percent. Also, lithium-ion batteries are 50 percent lighter and 25 to 30 percent smaller. The result: Better fuel efficiency in Ford’s new electric vehicle offerings, including a projected 47 mpg for Fusion Hybrid and an EPA-certified 47 mpg for C-MAX Hybrid.

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“We’re continually looking to find ways to provide greater fuel efficiency as well as cost savings to customers of our hybrid vehicles, and the reduction of rare earth metals is a key part of this strategy,” said Chuck Gray, chief engineer, Global Core Engineering, Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.”The third-generation hybrid technology we are now using builds on our 20 years of electric vehicle innovations.”