This week Ford made a huge down payment in its future, as well as that of the environment, when it announced it would invest $4.5 billion in hybrids and electric cars. Ford will add 13 electric and hybrid vehicles to its lineup by 2020 thanks to this substantial investment in vehicle electrification technology—the largest in any five-year period in the company’s history.
At a press conference held at Ford’s corporate headquarters in Dearborn, MI, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that by decade’s end, hybrids and electric cars would make up 40 percent of its lineup. Currently, such vehicles constitute 13 percent of the automaker’s output.
Among the proposed 13 vehicles to debut by decade’s end is a new Ford Focus Electric car with accelerated charging capabilities and a driving range of 100 miles (see graphic). Ford presented to the press a Fusion Energy plug-in hybrid model covered in a black drop cloth; the Michigan-based automaker says that the vehicle will be fully revealed at the North American International Auto Show in January.
Ford’s $4.5 billion investment in electric and hybrid vehicle development adds to the large financial commitment the company has made in this field. Back in May, Ford announced it would open its portfolio of over 400 electric vehicle patents as well as hire 200 engineers to work on electrification programs. Moreover, the automaker is partnering with the University of Michigan on an $8.1 billion lab devoted to the production of lithium ion batteries used in many electric vehicle models.
Investing in hybrid and electric car technology serves the long-term interests of Ford and other auto companies, according to experts like AutoTrader.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs.
“We’re going to see more and more companies invest in electrified vehicles because at the moment there’s some very stringent 2025 emission standards,” Krebs told Bloomberg. “The way to get there is using electrification. It’s a significant investment, but it’s the way the industry is moving forward.”
Krebs is referring to recent guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reduce current greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by half for 2025 model year vehicles. The EPA and NHTSA estimates that these stricter standards would result in a GHG emissions decrease of 2 billion metric tons. Both organizations believe that fuel economy improvements are key to GHG emission reduction, which can be achieved in part by increasing the manufacture of hybrids and electric cars.
Find out more about Ford’s hybrid and electric car initiatives by reading the Elk Grove Ford blog!