For the past several months, we EV newshounds have suspected that Ford had plans for a new generation of plug-ins up its sleeve. Now the #2 US automaker is beginning to reveal its answer to electric rivals GM, Nissan, VW et al.
Ford announced plans to invest a record $4.5 billion in electric tech over the next five years, adding 13 new electrified vehicles to its lineup by 2020. By that time, some 40 percent of the company’s global nameplates will be offered in electrified versions. (Note: the term “electrified” refers to many different forms of advanced energy storage in vehicles, from stop-start micro-hybrids all the way up to fully electric vehicles.)
A new Focus Electric, featuring DC fast-charging capability and a projected 100-mile range, is scheduled to go into production late next year.
Ford has also hinted that it will unveil a new plug-in vehicle at next month’s Detroit Auto show. Pictures posted to Twitter by the WSJ’s John Stoll show a vehicle under wraps that has the general outline of a Fusion. An update of the Energi PHEV? A fully electric Fusion?
— John Stoll (@johndstoll) December 10, 2015
Ford has been bulking up on battery R&D – it has hired 120 new EV engineers in Dearborn, and is expanding its network of research facilities in Europe and China.
“Batteries are the life force of any EV, and we have been committed to growing our leadership in battery research and development for more than 15 years,” said Kevin Layden, Director, Ford Electrification Programs. “Battery technology has evolved rapidly since we launched our first volume electrified product, the Ford Escape Hybrid, in 2004, and we look forward to developing even better vehicle battery technology for our customers.”