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Ford Motor Company at the NAIAS 2000: The Ford Prodigy

NAIAS 2000

Detroit Auto Show Special

New Ford hybrid electric car tops 70 MPG to Debut at the North American International Auto Show

DETROIT, Dec. 29, 1999 - The new Ford Prodigy is a hybrid electric family car prototype able to achieve more than 70 miles per gallon fuel economy. The lightweight, aerodynamic and fuel-efficient Prodigy - which will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show - demonstrates Ford's progress in developing a hybrid electric family vehicle with mass appeal.

"The vehicle represents an interim stage between our P2000 research programs and our plans for an affordable, production hybrid." says Neil Ressler, vice-president Research and Vehicle Technology.

Ford Prodigy Hybrid

Photo: Ford

The stylish, roomy Prodigy is designed to be stingy on fuel without sacrificing customer appeal in areas such as performance, affordability and roominess. The sedan is built on a lightweight platform, features a modern, aerodynamic design and is powered by a low storage requirement (LSR) hybrid electric powertrain.

The Ford Prodigy features an aerodynamic design that enhances vehicle aesthetics while reducing air resistance. Prodigy's 0.199 coefficient of drag - a measure of air resistance - is a 33-percent improvement compared with prior versions of the vehicle. Such a major improvement helps improve the vehicle's fuel economy by 4 miles per gallon.

To enhance the vehicle's aerodynamics, side-mounted cameras and onboard monitors are used in place of conventional side-view mirrors. The cameras provide a needed side view for the driver while not hindering air-flow around the vehicle.

Variable ride height, grille shutters and shields under the car also add to the vehicle's aerodynamic improvement.

Prodigy's platform is based on Ford's extensive lightweight materials research. Prodigy's total weight is 2,387 pounds, which is about 1,000 pounds lighter today's family sedan.

The significant weight reduction was achieved without sacrificing package efficiency. Prodigy is 30-percent lighter than today's Taurus sedan, but - thanks to creative packaging and lightweight materials - passenger space and luggage capacity are the same.

Prodigy's low storage requirement hybrid electric propulsion system uses an aluminum DIATA (Direct Injection, Aluminum Through Bolt Assembly) engine, starter/alternator, automatically shifted manual transmission and high-power battery.

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