Ford prioritises electric
Ford has released details on seven of the 13 new global electric vehicles (EVs) it plans to introduce in the next five years, and the brand’s commercial vehicles feature prominently; including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup, and a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van.
“Our investments and expanding line-up reflect our view that global offerings of EVs will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years,” says Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO.
The moves are part of a US$ 4,5-billion (R60,8 billion) investment in EVs by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle line-up.
The hybrid version of the best-selling F-150 pickup will be available by 2020 and sold in North America and the Middle East. The F-150 Hybrid, built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, will offer powerful towing and payload capacity and operate as a mobile generator.
A Transit Custom plug-in hybrid will be made available in Europe in 2019. It is engineered to help reduce operating costs in even the most congested streets, the company says.
Ford begins testing its new generation of EV technology this year. In Europe, the company intends to put the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid on the road, along with a new set of mobility services, telematics and connectivity solutions.
In addition, Ford is testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in some of the world’s most demanding traffic conditions in several major American cities. These build on the success of the world’s first hybrid taxi – the Ford Escape Hybrid.
“Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” says Raj Nair, executive vice president, product development, and chief technical officer. “This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.”
“Innovative services can be as important to customers as the EVs themselves,” says Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of purchasing and Ford’s EV champion. “We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives.”