Ford to spend $4.5 billion by 2020 on electric vehicles – Detroit Free Press
DEARBORN — Ford announced its largest five-year investment ever in electrified vehicles, with a pledge to spend $4.5 billion and introduce 13 new models by 2020, CEO Mark Fields announced today.
Fields said 40% of nameplates globally will be electrified by the end of the decade, up from 13% now. They will be a mix of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full battery-powered electric vehicles.
It’s a move driven by customer demand as well as the need to meet fuel efficiency standards, Fields said.
Among the plans is an update to the Ford Focus electric vehicle coming at the end of 2016 for North America and Europe. It will have an improved range of 100 miles and can reach 80% of its charge in 30 minutes, considered the maximum length of time consumers will easily tolerate. The current Focus Electric has a range of 76 miles and can be fully charged in 3.5 hours with a 240-volt outlet. Getting to an 80% charge takes about 2.5 hours.
Even with a 100-mile range, it’s still a far cry from the Chevrolet Bolt electric car’s 200 mile range that General Motors plans to show next month at the 2016 CES electronics show. The Bolt is expected to go on sale in 2017. Tesla is working on its 200-mile Model 3 electric car, and Audi has an SUV in development for 2018 that aims to travel 300 miles between charges.
Raj Nair, head of global product development, said Ford will be in the game.
“We will introduce vehicles with competitive range within the (five-year) time frame, Nair said.
The expectation is the next-generation Focus will meet or exceed the 200-range milestone that is becoming a necessity to be competitive. Ford is expected to introduce an all-new Focus in 2018, when production of the Focus moves from Michigan Assembly Plant to a facility outside the country, likely in Mexico.
Ford is also expected to show the next-generation Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid next month at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In the future, all new products will be designed to be powered by engines or batteries.
“All platforms will be capable of both gasoline and electric vehicles,” Nair said. And Ford will also continued to have dedicated families of vehicles that are electric only, as is the case with the current C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.
Nair said the automaker expects the same return on investment for its $4.5 billion spent on electric projects as it would expect from investment in gasoline-powered vehicles.
The $4.5 billion commitment comes as demand is down for electric vehicles during a period of low gasoline prices.
Ford has six hybrid or fully electrified vehicles for the Ford and Lincoln brands and has sold 58,700 hybrids through the first 11 months of the year and another 1,700 Focus electric cars. With one month to go, they are unlikely to equal 2014 sales of 82,500 hybrids and 1,845 Focus electric cars.
When it comes to electric vehicles, Ford is somewhere in the middle of the pack. It does not set the pace like Toyota, nor is it a laggard like Fiat Chrysler, whose CEO has openly questioned the viability of electric vehicles and which will have its first hybrid in years next year with the all-new Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
Among hybrids, the biggest seller is the Fusion hybrid at almost 30,000 so far this year, followed by the C-Max and C-Max Energi with a combined 21,450 sales so far. The Lincoln MKZ hybrid has added 7,400 sales this year.
Nair said sales of electrified vehicles has been hurt by low gasoline prices but also consumer fear that they will be stranded when their batteries run out.
“Range anxiety still exists,” Nair said. “We need to educate people of the advantages of each type (of electric vehicle).”
Plug-in hybrids make a lot of sense, Nair said. They can go a long way without filling the tank
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