EcoBoost engine technology, the hybrid system that led the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid to best-in-class 41 highway mpg and Ford's aggressive electrification plan will be key topics of discussion during the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress on April 20-23. This year's conference theme: "Racing to Green Mobility."

Ford engineers, researchers and academia will present more than 70 papers on a variety of powertrain, safety, design and manufacturing topics during the conference. Ford also is offering up the expertise of Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering; and Sherif Marakby, chief engineer, Ford Global Hybrid Engineering; for interactive panel discussions on current and future powertrain technology solutions.

Schmidt will share his insights on how automakers must balance government regulations, infrastructure and consumer needs to develop a sustainable global plug-and-play powertrain platform during the "Future Powertrain Technology Solutions – 2015 and Beyond" panel on April 21. He also will moderate a session on April 22, leading other industry experts in a discussion on how fuel-price trends influence emerging technologies and product planning.

The SAE will honor Schmidt on April 21 as the 2009 winner of the organization's all-new Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award for his professional and academic dedication to improving fuel economy and reducing emissions.

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"As a former Ph.D. student of Professor Pischinger at the University of Aachen, this award is particularly meaningful to me and demonstrates how our lives come full circle," said Schmidt. "This award truly recognizes the team of talented people I've been honored to work beside throughout my career."

Ford's Marakby will speak to trends in consumer hybrid purchase considerations during the "Making Green Cool While Staying in the Black" panel discussion on April 21. Ford's innovative SmartGauge with EcoGuide digital instrument cluster introduced on the 2010 Fusion Hybrid will be illustrated as a perfect example of cool-factor hybrid technology.

"What we are discovering is that the notion of a hybrid and its outstanding fuel economy is what may draw the consumer to the showroom, but it's the cool factor – the HMI displays, the next-generation navigation system, Ford SYNC functionality – that is a significant dynamic in the customer purchase decision," said Marakby.

On April 22, Marakby will lead a more technical discussion on the role full hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles play in Ford's sustainability plan as a participant in the "Which Hybrid Concepts Will Rise to the Top? The Race to the Marketplace" panel.

"We don't know which of these technologies [full hybrids, plug-ins or battery-electric] is going to win, but we are preparing ourselves to deliver whatever dominates," said Marakby. "Battery technology is the overall driver, and our goal is to offer lighter, smaller, high-performing and more efficient takes on the technology at an affordable price."

Technologies on Tap Ford is using this year's SAE World Congress to showcase a wide spectrum of powertrain advancements, including the development of more efficient lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems, which will power the company's future battery electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles slated for introduction in 2010 through 2012.

Ford's advanced battery researchers will present recent findings that show how Li-ion battery systems will be 5 percent more energy efficient. In addition, Li-ion would be less costly than NiMH in large volumes – approximately 30 percent less expensive at an annual volume of 3 million hybrid vehicles.

Ford will use Li-ion systems to power a pure battery electric Transit Connect commercial van in 2010 and a battery electric passenger car developed jointly with Magna International by 2011.

Ford's engine combustion team also will present a number of papers related to Ford's direct injection, turbocharged EcoBoost gasoline engine technology, introduced this year on the 2010 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Ford Flex and Ford Taurus SHO. EcoBoost is the cornerstone of Ford's near-term sustainability strategy, delivering up to 20 percent better fuel economy than traditional naturally-aspirated engines and reducing CO2 emissions up to 15 percent.

The team, for example, will detail the technical solutions behind the EcoBoost combustion system that ensure fast cold starts and more-efficient fuel burn, no matter the external conditions.

Other fuel-efficient-related technologies, including the use of alternative materials such as advanced high-strength steels for achieving more lightweight vehicle designs, will also be on tap during the World Congress. Paul Mascarenas, vice president of engineering for Global Product Development, for example, will highlight the part played by vehicle weight – as well as aerodynamics, materials, and electrical loads – in total energy use of a vehicle during the "Total Vehicle Energy Use Management" panel discussion on April 22.

"Improving fuel economy involves optimizing every aspect of a vehicle's energy consumption, including aerodynamics, weight, rolling resistance and electrical loads. These actions, coupled with state-of-the-art powertrain technologies, can be seen in many of our newly-launched vehicles, including the class-leading Fusion and Fusion Hybrid,' said Mascarenas, who will act as the session moderator.

"Ford has made a commitment to be the best or among the best for fuel economy and it's a host of technologies that are making that possible, including hybrids, battery-electric, EcoBoost, six-speed transmissions, electric power steering, aerodynamic improvements, alternative materials and other weight saving measures."

Learning Together This year's World Congress provides the perfect backdrop to demonstrate the real contributions Ford is making to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions today. The event also acts as a great learning lab and network site for automakers, suppliers and other industry players.

"The industry networking, collaboration and learning curve afforded to our engineers makes our participation in the World Congress a priority event for us," said Mascarenas.

Ford will be the host company of both the SAE World Congress and SAE Convergence in 2010.