By Sebastian Blanco

To most people, Bill Ford is most famous for being the great-grandson of Henry Ford. But, as the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Ford has also been leading the company into greener and greener territory. At the morning plenary session for the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Detroit today, Ford discussed a wide variety of topics, including connected cars (of course), plug-in vehicle and how Ford’s collaboration with Zipcar came about because of he liked what the Zipcar CEO was excited about getting cars off the road.

Given that the conference has a big focus on communication between cars this year, it’s no surprise that Ford talked about his company’s work on that front. He’s looking at the long term, though, and says that despite announcements like the one General Motors made yesterday about Super Cruise, when fully autonomous vehicles get here, it won’t be headline news since the ground work is being laid by technologies coming to cars in bits and pieces now. In other words, your adaptive cruise control is getting ready for bigger and better things.

On the zero-emission vehicle front, Ford said that while he’s in favor of electric vehicles, “My fear is that we electrify the fleet and our impact is not what it could be.” He was discussing the emissions reality of coal-powered electricity, and said that, “We’ve got to have a national discussion about what we want our grid to look like.”

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