Well, this is quite a chunk of change. Ford says it’s going to spend $4.5 billion dollars on an all-new electric lineup. And it wants to get it done in just five years.
It’s the largest amount of money Ford’s poured into electric vehicle efforts to date. The five-year plan announced this week sets out to electrify 40 percent of Ford’s lineup globally by 2020. The plan includes 13 new electric models and updates on all current electric models.
The first part of the plan is to update the new Focus Electric that’s coming out at the end of 2016. Ford is giving it a DC fast-charge system that should be able to reach an 80 percent charge in only half an hour. The new model is also set to go 2 mph faster than the current model with an estimated top speed of 100 mph. The current Focus gets a 100-mile range, a far cry from the new Chevrolet Bolt’s 200-mile range. So we’d expect Ford will want to make a huge range improvement with the new model as well.
Of course, the key to any electric vehicle plan is to give the technology mass market appeal. To do that, Ford is pioneering a new social science-based research method. Basically, their researchers will be tracking all the different ways that people interact with vehicles. The goal is to predict what people might want and need next. Ford plans to double in efforts on this type of research next year.
“The challenge going forward isn’t who provides the most technology in a vehicle but who best organizes that technology in a way that most excites and delights people. By observing consumers, we can better understand which features and strengths users truly use and value and create even better experiences for them going forward,” says Raj Nair, executive vice president, Product Development. “We are using new insights from anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists and designers, along with traditional business techniques, to reimagine our product development process, create new experiences and make life better for millions of people.”
Among hybrids, Ford’s biggest seller right now is the Fusion hybrid at almost 30,000 so far this year. It’s followed by the C-Max and C-Max Energi with a combined 21,450 sales in 2015. The automaker’s also sold 7,400 Lincoln MKZ hybrid’s this year.
Ford is also expected to show the next-generation Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid next month at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.