Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.Nancy Gioia is the director of global electrification for Ford Motor Co.

As California gas prices creep toward $5 a gallon and researchers pronounce that just a modest global rise in temperature could melt the Greenland ice sheet, engineers and transportation designers are busy creating a fossil fuel-free future – or at least one in which fossil fuels are used a lot less.

As California Watch reported last month, a team of engineers at Stanford University has designed a prototype of a highway system that would allow electric cars to wirelessly charge as they travel the interstate system.

But an engineer at Ford Motor Co. says that while such projects are exciting to think and talk about, the future of low-emission vehicles is already here. 

California Watch recently interviewed Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification, and here’s what she had to say:

California Watch: A few weeks ago, I wrote a story about a project happening at Stanford University. The engineers have built a prototype wireless charger that could, in theory, charge an electric fleet of cars as they drive. How realistic is this scenario?

Nancy Gioia: As we go forward, I think you’ll see that electrified vehicles and plug-in hybrids are full battery electrics as far as Ford is concerned. That’s because you can launch and propel them and drive up to urban speeds without displacing liquid fuel.

We’re looking at consumer behavior in the near term, midterm and long term. How do they recharge or refuel batteries of different sizes? Right now, consumers love hybrids because they don’t have to do anything different. But we can work with that, and step in and coach hybrid owners to drive even more efficiently. It’s at this machine-human interface where I see an enormous evolution in

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