Ford Announces the Company Will Invest $11 Billion in Electric Vehicles by 2022

Author: Eric Walz   

DETROIT — Ford CEO Jim Hackett has had a busy week. After appearing at CES last week in Las Vegas, Hackett has returned to Detroit, joining Ford Chairman, Bill Ford in announcing that the Ford Motor Co. will be investing $11 billion in electric vehicles (EVs) by the year 2022.

The investment figure is much higher than a previously announced target of $4.5 billion by 2020, Ford executives said, and includes the costs of developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures. Ford's engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.

Hackett told investors in October the automaker would slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.

An Electric Mustang?

"We're all in on this and we're taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we're electrifying them," Ford told reporters. "If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular."

Mainstream auto makers are reacting in part to pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are under pressure from Tesla, success in creating electric sedans and SUVs that inspire would-be owners to line up outside showrooms and flood the company with orders. Tesla's new electric Model 3, has nearly 500,000 reservations holders waiting for one.

Other Automakers Investing in EVs

Ford is not the only automaker investing in EVs. General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen have already outlined aggressive plans to expand their electric vehicle offerings and target consumers who want luxury, performance and an SUV body style, or all three attributes in the same vehicle.

GM said last year it would add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the United States and China.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has promised investors the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

Volkswagen said in November it would spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022. Toyota is working to commercialize a breakthrough battery technology during the first half of the 2020s, with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars, the company says.

A Hybrid F-150?

Ford's president of global markets, Jim Farley, said on Sunday in Detroit that Ford would bring a high-performance electric SUV to market by 2020. The company will begin production of a hybrid version of its popular F-150 truck at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2020. "What we learned from this first cycle of electrification is people want really nice products," Farley said.

Ford's shift to the electric vehicle strategy started seven months ago, after Hackett replaced former Chief Executive Mark Fields in May of 2017.

The plan was finalized in recent months after an extensive review, a person familiar with the process said. In October, Ford disclosed it had formed a team to accelerate global development of electric vehicles, whose mission is to "think big" and "make quicker decisions."

Some of the electric vehicles will be produced with Ford's joint venture in China aimed at the Chinese market. One important goal of Ford's "Team Edison" is to identify and develop electric-vehicle partnerships with other companies, including suppliers, in some markets, according to Sherif Marakby, vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification.

Ford is positioning itself to meet global demand for EVs. China, India, and France all have announced plans to phase out vehicles powered by combustion engines and fossil fuels between 2030 and 2040.

Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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