Ford has struck up a partnership with renewable fuels developer Verisun to promote and develop the uptake of more environmentally friendly high ethanol content fuel in the US.

The partnership builds on a commitment to American innovation made in a speech delivered by Ford chairman and CEO Bill Ford to employees. The initiative will expand the fueling infrastructure to support flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on up to 85% ethanol (E85).

Currently there are about 5 million flexible fuel vehicles on US roads which are capable of using high ethanol fuels, however only about 500 of the more than 180,000 fuel stations in the US currently offer E85.

The Ford/VeraSun partnership will concentrate on growing the E85 infrastructure in 2006. The initiative will serve to convert existing fuel pumps to VeraSun’s branded E85 – VE85 – in existing retail outlets. A consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits and use of E85 will also be launched. Local retail outlets and Ford dealerships will be asked to participate in the campaign.

In addition Ford will be offering four new models with the flexible fuel technology option for 2006: Ford F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car.