By Zach Bowman, Green Car Reports, 20 April 2017
Ford has aggressive plans for sales of electric vehicles…in China. In a recent announcement, the U.S. automaker said that 70 percent of the vehicles it sells in the country by 2025 will be hybrids—either plug-in or conventional—or fully electric. Ford calls China “the world’s largest new energy vehicle market,” a title backed up by Beijing’s support of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Ford builds vehicles in China through a joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Company, and the two will launch their first locally built plug-in hybrid next year with the 2018 Mondeo Energi sedan.
That car, known as the Fusion Energi in North America, will feature an all-electric range of around 31 miles on the Chinese testing cycle.
A conventional hybrid version of the Mondeo has been built and sold in China since last year, and Ford says it also plans to bring a new, fully electric small SUV to the market within the next five years.
The company also plans to begin building electric powertrains in China by 2020 by expanding its engineering efforts at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center with a new “energy vehicle team.”
The group will focus on developing new components and technologies to be used globally to improve fuel economy and drivability.
In the same statement, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said, “We are prioritizing our electrification efforts on China to reflect its importance as a global electrified vehicle market and to make lives better, simpler and more cost effective for Chinese consumers.”
The Chinese government has set forth new, strict fuel-economy figures and has begun subsidizing EVs and hybrids in a bid to reduce air pollution.
As a result, the Society of Automotive Engineers of China projects those vehicles will account for 15 percent of all passenger vehicle sales in the country by 2025.
It also explains why this year’s Shanghai Auto Show was so focused on alternative energy vehicles, with Honda, Volkswagen, Audi, Chevrolet, Cadillac and others all displaying hybrids of one shade or another.
Contrast that with just one alternative-fuel vehicle line unveiled at this year’s New York Auto Show, and the power of government policy to affect automotive and powertrain development becomes clear.