US automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company has announced this week a huge investment boost into the development of electric vehicles (EVs).
In total, the company has committed to investing $11bn into the development of a wide range of electric vehicles by 2022.
Moreover, Ford plans to use this huge funding boost in order to develop and market 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 fully battery electric-powered vehicles by 2022. The remaining 24 cars under development would use hybrid electric drive trains which combine electric power with a traditional gasoline motor.
The announcement, which was made at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit, represents the latest move by Ford as it pivots towards an EV-heavy future under the leadership of new CEO Jim Hackett.
Ford had earlier pledged to invest a smaller $4.5bn into EV development in 2015, however, market and technological changes have prompted the company to massively increase this amount.
Jim Hackett also announced late last year that Ford would cut approximately $14bn in costs over the next five years, as it shifted investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines and towards electric and hybrid cars.
Part of this strategy involves Ford refocussing its efforts to produce electric versions of some of its most popular vehicles, many of which are SUVs. To this aim, the company has announced that its first fully battery electric powered SUV will be available to consumers by 2020, boasting a 300-mile range – comparable to Tesla’s Model S.
“We are actively evolving our position to be more competitive,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president.
“At the highest level, we need to narrow our full lineup of nameplates to a more focused lineup that delivers stronger growth, less risk and better returns. We are repositioning the company to offer best-in-class, human-centered vehicles and mobility services. That’s our vision.”
In addition to electric vehicles, Ford Smart Mobility is also heavily involved in developing autonomous features for its upcoming line-up of cars.
Within this development project, the company hopes to have its first purpose-built autonomous vehicle in production by 2021. The technology behind this is being aided through collaborative projects with a number of other companies including Dominos, Lyft and Postmates