Under new management Ford looks to shift focus to electric SUVs

By Cal Jeffrey
Jul 9, 2018
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  1. In a recent interview with Engadget, Ted Cannis, Ford’s global director of battery electric vehicles said that the company plans to start manufacturing more hybrids and electric vehicles (EV).

    “With (Ford CEO Jim) Hackett, we're all in,” he said. “We're going to be bigger and we want to change the process.”

    According to Cannis, it is what Ford’s customer base wants. They are buying up the SUVs, but the market is also trending to EV, and Ford thinks it can make it happen in its line of larger vehicles.

    “When it was compliance cars, there's nothing wrong with Ford Focus Electric. It's executed well. But, it's not too exciting,” he said. "Let's make them awesome. Let's amplify what's best about that for that user group and really make awesome vehicles."

    While large EV do pose some technical difficulties in that it takes more energy to move more mass, engineers are optimistic due to advances in battery technology. They also have more room to work with and can install bigger power banks. Cannis makes a case with the Ford prototype codenamed Mach 1.

    The Mach 1 (inspired by the Mustang of the same name) is a small electric SUV with a 300-mile range that is in development and should be in car lots by 2020. By 2022, the automaker plans on introducing “40 electrified vehicles (16 of which will be EVs) worldwide.”

    Former CEO Mark Fields’ outlook on the EV market was not as rosy. Resources were held back from electric vehicle development under Fields due to fears of a “soft” market. The new direction seems to be the vision of Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett who replaced Fields back in May 2017.

    “Hackett is adjusting how the company operates from end-to-end for this electrification plan. The company wants to move quicker, like a startup. It's not a small division or test program, this is the entire organization moving towards a single goal to bring electrification to the road.”

    Despite its ambitious plan, Ford has some catching up to do if it wants to compete with other EV makers like Tesla, Honda, Nissan, GM, and Jaguar. All of its competitors already have dedicated electric vehicles in production. Currently, even Ford’s shining example, the Focus EV is an internal combustion engine converted to electric. If Hackett really wants to take the company in this direction, its engineers are going to have to change their approach to engine design and create one that is built on EV technology rather than just a conversion of the old standard internal combustion engine.

    In the meantime, expect to see plenty of hybrids and crossovers coming off the assembly line.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,004   +2,489

    While HE thinks its a good idea, FORD was built on affordable transportation for the masses and SUV's and PU Trucks have long since passed affordability for the masses. If he builds just one small electric car that seats 5 comfortably and has a 350-450 mile range on a single charge he might just catch lightning in a bottle again. All electric vehicles are unavoidable with autonomous vehicles right behind but continuing the old "The Market Will Buy What We Tell Them" attitude will spell disaster ....
     
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  3. IAMTHESTIG

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,416   +534

    America keeps getting bigger, and that's not just on the bathroom scale. We indeed want larger vehicles, (smaller cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt are just not enough for families with multiple children and pets) and there are plenty of us who want to embrace what electric powered vehicles have to offer. While I myself dream of an affordable electric large SUV or truck, I doubt it is going to happen in the scale Ford and every other enthusiast would like to see.

    The poor capacity, long charge times, and high cost of large electric vehicles just isn't going to fly. Not to mention the very limited access to lithium will also put a hold on our dreams.

    I'm sorry for being a nay-sayer but I just don't see it happening. Not until the big three C's are considered "reasonable" for the average Joe. The big three C's of course being battery capacity, charge time, and cost. Honestly I don't believe it will ever happen full scale with batteries. I think we will have to rely on another method of energy storage, whether it be super capacitors, hydrogen, or something else we haven't discovered yet.
     
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.

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