The Superconnected Plug-In Hybrid

What do you get when you mix various popular consumer and technology shifts like cloud computing, social networking, and plug-in hybrids? The Ford (NYSE: F  ) Evos Concept, of course!

The slick-looking concept vehicle features "gull-wing" doors (think Back to the Future) and is set to be unveiled later this month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In addition to being a plug-in hybrid, it will be integrated into your personal cloud of information, ranging from your work schedule and music preferences to keeping up with local weather conditions.

It will even socially network with your friends to recommend better driving routes. The idea is to allow the car to get to know the driver in a way that personally tailors the driving experience. The company goes as far as to say that the Evos will get "to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute."

The Evos also represents a shift in the automaker's overall design direction. Upcoming models will take cues from its design, and it will set a unified global design framework.

As awesome as this car looks, I'm a little less than thrilled that it's a plug-in hybrid instead of a pure electric vehicle. I've previously referred to plug-in hybrids, like GM's (NYSE: GM  ) Cadillac ELR, as stepping stones to pure electric vehicles; I think the smarter move would be to make the Evos all-electric. It's still early, so the company has plenty of time before the car hits roads to finalize the details. Ford already has plans to roll out its Focus Electric later this year, so reverting to a plug-in hybrid seems a tad counterproductive in my mind.

As a Ford shareholder, I'm excited to see the company delivering on innovation. I think the company will hold its own in the coming electric car war against Tesla Motors' (Nasdaq: TSLA  ) Model S. The stock is cheap right now, and this Fool thinks it's a buy. What do you think? How will you invest in the electric car revolution? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Ford Motor and Tesla Motors, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford Motor and General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2011, at 10:01 PM, ITMDiagonal wrote:

    I disagree on the fully electric point. A plug-in hybrid is much more useful for most people, and can actually serve as an only or primary car. Pure plug-ins are just not useful except as a third car in a two driver family.

    Another problem is that cars like the Leaf actually don't cost less to operate than many cars in much of the country. In California, where they are popular, the cost of electricity makes them more costly than any car that gets better than 33 miles per gallon. This is due to the $0.37/Kwthr price of electricity. Even more efficient batteries and drive systems won't help if electricity has high costs like that. And more wind power will only drive up the cost in the time frame most will hold the car.

  • Report this Comment On September 12, 2011, at 2:59 PM, CarEnthusiast wrote:

    Dear ITM Diagonal,

    I wish that you would refrain from misrepresenting current EV technology. A plug-in hybrid is not more useful for most people. Ninety five percent of the population travel less than 40 miles everyday. Therefore, current electric lithium ion technology is suitable for most everyone. If you happen to travel farther than say 300 miles, which is the maximum range of the Model S, coming out in 2012, then you could drive your second car or take public transport. However, for your daily commute and daily errands electric vehicles would save you seventy percent of what you normally would consume paying for gasoline. Lastly, $0.37/Kwhr is nothing in comparison to the cost of gasoline. As I just stated It is seventy percent less than gas.

    Before you disagree with something please do more research. You sound either misinformed or are attempting to peddle a false claim that you want other people to believe.

    It is time to embrace the electric age and recognize the wasteful consumption and inefficiency of the gas engine.

    Finally, I agree that the Ford Evos should be all electric.

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