8. Ford Motor Company (1903)
Like other large car manufacturers, Ford plans to wheel out an array of plug-in hybrids, all-electrics and plain hybrids. It even put an oversized charger in the coming all-electric Focus to cut down on charging time and help eliminate range anxiety. And like GM and others, it is tinkering with software and psychology to come up with apps to make electric cars more engaging. 25 percent of Ford's cars will be hybrids, electrics, or plug in hybrids by 2025 with the vast majority of the total being regular hybrids.
But the biggest push at the company will revolve around improving gas and diesel engines and that's why company made the list. EcoBoost, Ford's efficient gas engine that acts sort of like a diesel, can boost mileage by 10 percent to 15 percent and EcoBoost engines have been popping up in more models. More technology will follow. CAFE standards will require auto makers to boost their average fleet mileage from the low 20 mile per gallon range to 35 miles per gallon by 2016 and may further require them to hit 42 miles per gallon or more by 2020. Considering that electric cars will only constitute a small percentage of overall sales by 2020, achieving the higher standard will likely have to be accomplished hrough things like microhybrid technology, novel opposed piston engines and devices that can recover waste heat from engines to power air conditioners.
Advanced engine companies like Achates Power hope big automakers will license their technologies. Ford might license, but it is also in better shape than many competitors development-wise. CEO Smilin' Alan Mulally reorganized the company after coming to Ford in 2006 and placed a particular emphasis on ensuring that the best-of-breed ideas at the company percolated globally. The old days of producing good cars in Europe and questionable ones for the U.S. effectively began to end.
Additionally, Ford has also been at the forefront on incorporating recycled materials into its cars. Just a few days ago, it announced it would convert 4.1 million pounds of carpet into cylinder head covers.