Ford plans new batch of electric vehicles

Auto & Audio January 07, 2017 01:00


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FORD MOTOR has shed light on seven of the 13 electric vehicles it plans to launch over the next five years, including hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup and Mustang in the United States and a fully electric sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with an expected range of at least 480 kilometres to be sold in Asia, North America and Europe.

The carmaker will also offer a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe.

The details were released yesterday as the US auto-industry giant also announced plans to invest US$700 million (Bt25 billion) to expand its Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles (EVs) along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The expansion will create 700 jobs.

 The moves are part of a $4.5-billion investment in electric vehicles by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle line-up. 

Ford has said it is focusing on becoming an “auto and a mobility company”, providing electric and autonomous vehicles and “new mobility solutions”. 

“As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and chief executive officer. 

“Our investments and expanding line-up reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”

Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive.The seven electric vehicles announced yesterday include:

A fully electric small SUV, due by 2020, with an estimated range of at least 480km. It will be offered in North America, Europe and Asia.

A high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America. The hybrid vehicle will debut in 2021.

A hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pickup, available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. The F-150 Hybrid will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator. A hybrid version of the Mustang that will deliver V-8 power and even more low-end torque. The Mustang Hybrid will debut in 2020, first in North America.

A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid available in 2019 in Europe, engineered to help reduce operating costs in congested streets.

Two pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. One of them will be built in Chicago, and both will be equipped with their police gear at Ford’s police vehicle modification centre in Chicago.

In addition, Ford said its global utility line-up would be the company’s first hybrids powered by EcoBoost, rather than naturally aspirated engines, improving performance and fuel economy.

The company also plans to be as aggressive in developing global electrified vehicles services and solutions. These include electric-vehicle fleet management, route planning and telematics solutions.

Building on two decades of experience, Ford says it is applying lessons learned to deliver patented technology, software and services to appeal to truck customers, SUV owners, performance enthusiasts, high-volume commercial fleets and everyone in between.

“Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president for product development and chief technical officer. 

“While some others seem to be focused on marketing claims and numbers, we’re focused on providing customers even more of what they love about their Ford vehicles. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.”

This year, Ford begins testing its new generation of EV technology. In cities including London, Ford will put the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid on the road this year, along with a new set of mobility services, telematics and connectivity solutions.