Ford of Canada's Power of Choice Tour made a pit stop last weekend at Parkside Ford on north Main Street after previous stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon.
The tour is intended to introduce Canadians to Ford's new more energy efficient line-up of 2012 and 2013 models. Among the featured vehicles on board for test drives were the 2013 Ford Escape with its Ecoboost engine (which will be available in the summer), the 2012 Ford Fusion hybrid (available in the early summer), the Focus Electric (available in June) and the pre-production 2013 Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi - plug-in hybrids which are scheduled to be on the market by the end of the year.
In his introduction to the program, Ford vehicle expert Michael Lenz noted that the Ford Motor Company's commitment to green technology was launched in 2006 when Bill Ford hired Alan Mulally as president and chief executive officer. "Ford has a 30-year game plan to reduce our carbon footprint," Lenz said. "We started in 2007 with our first electric vehicle. We are now into the second phase. In 2012, we introduced six fully electric vehicles."
The idea behind the Power of Choice campaign, Lenz explained, is to give the customer the opportunity to choose the vehicle best suited to his needs. For drivers who prefer to stick with gas-powered vehicles, Ford's Ecoboost technology - combining direct fuel injection and turbo boost, powers more power which increasing fuel efficiency by 20% and reducing CO2 emissions by 15%.
The electric Focus model is powered by a lithium ion battery, Lenz noted, that can be charged at any point in the life of the battery. As well, the model comes equipped with a heating and cooling system and, with an optional home charging system (which will be available at Best Buy stores with installation by a certified electrician), you can recharge the battery in 3.5 hours (as compared to 18 hours of you just plug into a socket at home).
"We are also offering as APP which will allow the vehicle owner to interface with the vehicle if, for example, you want to locate the nearest charging station or want to determine your route to your destination," Lenz said.
The Focus electric vehicle, Lenz added, has a maximum range of 160 km. "The average Canadian drives about 70km a day," he pointed out.
In between the Ecoboost-powered gas models and the electric model are Ford's hybrids. The new plug-in models are powered initially by electricity. The gas system kicks in when the battery is beginning to run down.
"Our Fusion Energi model gets the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon," Lenz said.
Lenz also commented on how Ford is more and more using materials in its manufacturing processes.
Staying with the green theme, for every test drive last Saturday, Ford of Canada donated $20 to Take Pride Winnipeg, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring civic pride, raising public awareness and promoting citizen responsibility in making the city of Winnipeg clean and beautiful
In addition to hosting the Power of Choice Tour, Parkside Ford Lincoln has recently welcomed several new 2013 models. The 2013 MKT and MKX model Lincolns arrived at the dealership in mid-April.
"They changed the MKT's front end," says Parkside sales rep Don Thomas. "It really looks sharp."
The other change for the Lincoln models, Thomas notes, is an updated MYLincoln Touch which makes the technology (navigation system, voice commands) simpler, faster and easier to use.
The two new Lincoln models start at about $54.000 (plus freight and pdi).
Thomas notes that the Mustang will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.
The 2013 model, which also arrived in mid-April, is powered by a 3.7-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine which puts out 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.
The 2013 Mustang starts at $29,000.