Ford executives at Detroit Motor Show 2018

Ford announces $11bn investment in electric and hybrid cars

Image credit: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will invest $11bn (£8bn) in developing electric and hybrid cars over the next five years.

The announcement was made by Bill Ford, Ford chairman, at the Detroit Motor Show.

“This $11bn you’re seeing, that means we’re all in now,” he said at the event. “We’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them. If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”

“The only question is: will the customers be there with us? And we think they will.”

Ford aims to have 40 new electric and hybrid models on the market by 2022, including 16 fully electric cars, and at least one high-performance SUV, nicknamed the ‘Mach 1’. The company also aims to introduce a hybrid version of its iconic F-150 truck by 2020.

Last year, Ford replaced Mark Fields as president and CEO with Jim Hackett. During his time at Ford, Hackett oversaw the creation of Ford Smart Mobility, self-ventures, and other forward-facing projects which could help the well-established automaker compete with Tesla, Uber and other younger companies breaking into the automotive industry with electric and self-driving ventures.

In October 2017, Hackett announced that Ford would shift investment towards trucks and electric and hybrid cars and away from the development of new internal combustion engines and sedans.

Previously, the company has stated that it intended to invest $4.5bn (£3.3bn) by 2020. This announcement approximately doubles its planned investment, although the investment is significantly smaller than Volkswagen’s planned $40bn (£29bn) investment in cleaner models.

Government and companies around the world are searching for means to cut down their carbon emissions as the impacts of climate change – such as more frequent instances of extreme weather – demonstrate the necessity for mitigation. The 2015 Paris Agreement – whose signatories include every country in the world except the US – aims to limit average global temperature increases to 2°C, which could help avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

A shift away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric and hybrid vehicles could significantly help limit carbon emissions. The French and UK governments have announced their intentions to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. India and China – among the largest automotive markets in the world – have also made plans to phase out combustion engines.

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