Ford is dramatically shifting its focus to EVs over the next four years with a planned $11 billion investment in developing 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles by 2022.
The news was shared by Chairman Bill Ford at the Detroit Auto Show. Originally, Ford was targeting an investment of $4.5 billion into alternative fuel cars by 2020. The huge shift highlights the pressure Ford is under with every other major car manufacturer already making similar investments into EVs and hybrids. Much of Ford’s invesment will go into crafting the architecture for electric vehicles.
Ford’s roadmap for electric vehicles continues to fluctuate as it ascertains the challenges ahead. In October, Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett relayed to investors that the company planned to cut $14 billion in costs over the next five years while shifting investment capital away from gas-powered cars to EVs and hybrids.
But other companies proved to be more aggressive in their pursuit of developing a far-ranging fleet of non-gas cars; Ford had to respond and the $11 billion investment announcement is just that.
“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Ford announced. “If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”
With 40 cars in development, 16 of those will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids. Some of the cars Ford is expected to electrify includes developing a hybrid version of the F-150 and an SUV utility vehicle.
Even as Ford takes a big step into electric vehicles, it still faces stiff competition. Its cross-town rival, GM, has already made significant strides in developing EVs, including announcing the completely autonomous and all-electric Cruise AV. Volkswagen promised to invest $40 billion to electric vehicles by 2022 and Toyota has honed its focus in a battery technology that will severely cut the price of developing EVs.