Ford to invest £1bn to cut emissions
A major motor company is to invest £1 billion in a range of environmental technologies in an effort to drive down emissions from its vehicles.
The earmarked cash is double the level of investment the company has previously set for environmental improvements.
The cash will be spent on the research and delivery of a number of areas which will boost efficiency and reduce emissions including hybrids, biofuels and making cars lighter so they require less fuel.
Rather than spending the cash on a handful of models to be marketed as eco-friendly vehicles, Ford says it hopes to introduce improvements across the board.
"Climate change is one of the greatest single challenges facing the auto industry and society today," said Lewis Booth, CEO of Ford of Europe on Monday.
"A broad business strategy that serves all our brands is the only way we can achieve the level of improvement in emissions and fuel economy required.
"We are not going to introduce just one or two high-profile green cars that sell in relatively low numbers and leave it at that."
The Ford philosophy appears to be that making mainstream vehicles significantly less polluting, then selling them in large quantities, will have a bigger impact on emissions than creating vehicles for a niche market which will not sell in bulk.
"We have already invested significantly and made great progress over the last decade," said Mr Booth.
"Our fleet is significantly cleaner today than ever before. For example, the current Ford Focus...has better performance, improved fuel economy and produces 26 percent less CO2 than an equivalent Ford Escort model from 1998.
"With the further technology plans we have, our fleet in the next decade will use literally millions of tonnes less CO2 over its lifetime on the road than our fleet does today."
To put the savings in perspective, Ford hopes to reduce CO2 emissions from its vehicles sold in Britain by the same tonnage as is currently put out by the whole of Newcastle.
Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for Transport said: "There is no bigger long-term challenge facing us than climate change.
"That is why it is very important for all of us - government, business and individuals to act. Today's announcement from Ford is very welcome. It is good news for the environment, British jobs and the wider economy."
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