The Ford Motor Company has been building hybrid and pure electric vehicles for years, but its recently unveiled electric vehicle plan will soon dwarf everything it has offered to date. In fact, when you consider that such popular vehicles as the Ford F-150 and Mustang will soon offer hybrid variants, Ford’s commitment to EVs is staggering.
On the first business day of 2017, Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, announced a sweeping plan to build more EVs, develop autonomous cars and rejuvenate a Michigan factory along with the promise to add 700 new jobs. In all, Ford intends to introduce 13 new global electrified vehicles over the next five years. Plans for seven of those models were announced at a press conference in Ford’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant.
Ford’s Upcoming Hybrids and EVs
An all-new, unnamed SUV. Ford is busy expanding its SUV line and will soon add the EcoSport to slot beneath the Escape. Yet another small SUV is expected, which will be an all-electric model with a range of at least 300 miles, topping the Tesla Model X’s current range. It’ll be built in Flat Rock and distributed in three global markets, including North America.
An autonomous car. Ford plans to introduce a driverless car in 2021. The unnamed vehicle will be designed for ride-hailing services such as taxis, Uber and Lyft, as well as ride-sharing services. It will be a high-volume hybrid model manufactured at Flat Rock.
Ford’s F-150 pickup gets a hybrid. The F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for nearly four decades. A hybrid version is in the development stages with Ford planning to provide the same robust payload and towing capacities it offers in its conventional trucks. Moreover, the Dearborn-built F-150 hybrid will also be able to serve as a mobile generator.
America’s pony car adds a hybrid. Mustang lovers clamoring for more low-end torque just may want to put a hybrid version of America’s favorite pony car on their shopping list. The Flat Rock-built Mustang hybrid will offer V8 power.
Ford’s big van adds a plug-in hybrid variant. The one EV model not currently scheduled for North American introduction is a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit Custom full-size van. This Transit will be offered in Europe, where it will also be built.
Two new police vehicles with pursuit ratings round out the list of seven electrified vehicles. One of the two hybrids will be built in Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant, where it will also be fitted with police gear.
Vehicle Electrification Plans
Ford’s vehicle electrification plans go beyond specific models to include EV management, route planning and telematics solutions. The automaker’s Flat Rock investment includes the establishment of a Manufacturing Innovation Center, further strengthening Michigan’s leadership in automotive research and development. In Europe, Ford is cooperating with other automakers to build an ultra-fast charging network. The automaker is also testing wireless charging on company EVs in Europe and North America.
Ford is currently testing 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in several major U.S. cities, including New York. This move follows a much earlier deployment of Ford Escape Hybrid taxis. Some Escape Hybrids are still in service with their original batteries and have at least 350,000 miles on the odometer.
Flat Rock Investment
Ford’s EV initiative is part of a $4.5 billion investment the automaker is making in developing electrified vehicles. Notably, the Flat Rock plant will benefit from a $700 million upgrade.
At the same time, Ford announced it was canceling a previously planned assembly plant in Mexico, choosing instead to expand its current factory in Hermosillo to accommodate expanded Ford Focus capacity.
The Current Lineup
Although the new vehicles are at least three years away from arriving to the market, Ford shoppers don’t have to wait to purchase an electrified vehicle as three model lines are currently available.
The Ford Focus Electric hatchback has a 75-mile range and is the automaker’s lone pure electric vehicle. Ford’s popular midsize Fusion sedan is offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid (Fusion Energi) variants, the latter with a 21-mile electric-only range. Moreover, the Fusion Energi is able to travel at speeds approaching 80 mph in electric mode before the gas engine kicks in.