Ford backs out on hybrid pledge, plans more alt-fuel vehicles

Remember Ford’s much-hyped commitment to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles by 2010? Er, about that: CEO Bill Ford Jr. backpedaled on the promise Wednesday. While not abandoning hybrids altogether, he said Ford’s focus (ha) is shifting (ha ha) to cars that can run on alternative fuels like ethanol, clean diesel, and biodiesel. In an email to employees, the CEO said the quarter-million-hybrids objective was “too narrow to achieve our larger goals of substantially improving fuel economy and CO2 performance.” (Of course, ethanol substantially improves neither, so, uh, WTF?) Also on Wednesday, Bill Ford and the CEOs of General Motors and Chrysler pledged to Congress that they would double production of alt-fuel vehicles to 2 million by the end of the decade. In addition, Ford announced plans to partner with VeraSun Energy to open about 50 new ethanol fueling stations in the Midwest.