By Mark Shields, Ford CEO, 14 Jan 2017. How Ford Will Electrify Vehicles to Make Them Better: Ford is electrifying its most popular vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive.
Happy New Year! As we kick off 2017, at Ford, we’re also looking further into the future. The era of more affordable electrified vehicles is dawning, and we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.
That’s why, today, we’re confirming seven of 13 new global EVs coming from Ford in the next five years as part of a $4.5 billion investment. They include our most popular trucks, commercial vehicles and performance vehicles. At the same time, we’re also creating new services and mobility solutions that will make it easy to use EVs.
Why this major investment in technology?
In the next 15 years, we see global EV industry offerings outnumbering gasoline-powered vehicles, as people around the world continue moving to cities, consumer preferences shift to greener transportation and battery prices fall — all making tomorrow’s EVs less expensive to own than today’s gas-powered vehicles.
These new Ford electrified vehicles will include full hybrids that never need to be plugged in, plug-in hybrids that can run on electricity alone or gasoline when the battery is almost empty, and full electric vehicles that make zero emissions by using only batteries and electric motors to move.
This kind of EV leadership is two decades in the making, starting with the introduction of the Escape Hybrid in 2004 — the first mass-produced hybrid built in the U.S. and the first SUV hybrid. Some are still being used as taxis today, moving passengers for more than 350,000 miles with their original batteries.
Last year, our C-MAX and Fusion Energi hybrids made Ford the best-selling brand of plug-in hybrid vehicles in America. Plus, we’ve sold more than 560,000 EVs globally since 2005.
More importantly, leading in electrification, autonomy and connectivity are critical to Ford’s expansion to an auto and a mobility company.
While some others are focused on marketing claims, we’re giving 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 even better fuel economy.
To start, we’re introducing a hybrid version of our iconic Ford Mustang in 2020. The Mustang Hybrid will deliver V8 power and great low-end torque, making it even more fun to drive for customers starting in North America.
We’re also announcing a hybrid version of our best-selling F-150 pickup. This F-150 will make our truck customers even more productive, with strong work capability plus the new ability to double as a mobile generator capable enough to power a worksite.
For our law enforcement customers, we’re announcing two new pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles that will be able to keep officers and K9 units cool at rest without the need to idle the gas engine.
For our fifth vehicle, we’re announcing the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid, available in 2019 in Europe. It’s engineered to help reduce operating costs in congested European cities. In addition, this year, we start testing 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxis and cargo vans around the U.S.
The remaining two vehicles we’re announcing today are even more exciting because they’re all-new and like nothing we have on the road today.
The first is an all-new fully electric small utility vehicle that’s expected to deliver at least 300 miles of range. It will be a breakthrough vehicle for Ford, given its extended range and the versatility people love about SUVs.
In addition, we will have a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle — with no steering wheel, brake or gas pedal — for ride hailing and ride sharing in 2021, and it will be a hybrid.
In addition, we intend to be just as innovative in providing EV services and solutions as we are the electrified vehicles themselves. That’s why we’re developing the solutions that will make owning EVs simpler than ever.
Just recently, we announced a memorandum of understanding with several other automakers to create thousands of ultra-fast electric charging points across Europe. It’s something we’re interested in expanding around the world.
Today, we’re announcing that we will be kicking off a wireless charging pilot with vehicles in our Ford fleet. This is innovative technology makes charging a car as simple as parking over a charging pad. No cables or wires needed, so you’ll never forget to recharge.
In addition to our EV investments, today we also are proud to announce we’re investing another $700 million to transform and expand Flat Rock Assembly Plant to create a new Manufacturing Innovation Center. At Flat Rock we will build our new autonomous and long-range battery electric vehicles, along with the iconic Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental.
Even better, this expansion will create 700 direct jobs at the plant.
So, there you have it: A new hybrid autonomous vehicle, a long-range battery electric SUV, a Mustang Hybrid, an F-150 Hybrid, a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, two new electrified police vehicles, wireless charging, a $700 million investment, 700 new U.S. jobs and the transformation of our Flat Rock Assembly Plant into one the world’s most flexible manufacturing centers for high-tech vehicles.
It’s all part of doing what Ford always has done best — using ingenuity, a passion for serving people and a commitment to making our vehicles and technologies accessible to millions of people to make people’s lives better. As we like to say: We “Go Further” so you can.