5 January 2005

During the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, Ford will unveil the Mercury Meta One concept car featuring a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain. The vehicle utilizes a twin-turbo V-6 diesel engine combined with an electric motor, and delivers 431 lb-ft of torque.

The Meta One vehicle is fueled by synthetic Fischer-Tropsch biomass-based diesel fuel developed by BP. No details on fuel economy were released.

NOx emissions in the Meta One concept are 97% cleaner than the Tier 1 emission standard (which is 1 g/mi). Ford is aiming at further improving the emissions to meet the California PZEV (partial zero emission vehicle) requirements. A PZEV car must be certified to the LEV II SULEV standard (NOx = 0.02 g/mi, PM = 0.01 g/mi) over an extended durability period of 150,000 mi and meet certain additional requirements.

The vehicle is fitted with an “advanced exhaust after-treatment system”, said Ford. While details have not been released, Ford credited (among other suppliers) Engelhard for supplying SCR catalysts and diesel particulate filter (DPF) washcoats, Johnson Matthey for diesel oxidation catalyst washcoat, and NGK-Locke for NOx sensors. This indicates that the Meta One may be utilizing a urea-SCR system for NOx control and a DPF for PM control. The aftertreatment system was integrated by Tenneco.

Diesel-electric hybrids, which are also being developed by other manufacturers (e.g., the Mercedes F 500 Mind concept), can potentially offer better fuel economy than gasoline hybrids. However, they would be a higher cost option, due to the added costs of both the diesel engine and the advanced diesel aftertreatment system.

Source: Ford