Ford Motor Co. plans to offer a more fuel-efficient version of the Expedition that could be powered by either a new European V-8 diesel engine or a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, according to Automotive News. A anonymous source at Ford said the company would have a higher-mileage, full-sized SUV that would compete with hybrid versions of big SUVs planned by General Motors and Chrysler. "We have hybrids and diesels under development," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of product development for the Americas. "Right now we are looking at a variety of alternatives in terms of a (transmission) for our hybrids, that's in-house and working with external suppliers." GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW are working together on a hybrid transmission, called the Two-Mode for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The Two-Mode is a conventional four-speed automatic transmission with two electric motors used to boost fuel economy in the city and on the highway. Because the gearbox was designed to be easily adapted to other makes of vehicles, Ford could buy the Two-Mode from GM, which has been trying aggressively to sell it to other automakers. The diesel appears to be a bigger version of the new 3.6-liter engine offered in Land Rovers sold in Europe and would be relatively quick and inexpensive for Ford to install compared to the hybrid.
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