Ford plans to grow the number of electrified vehicles in its lineup over the next five years. It will invest $4.5 billion to add 13 new electrified models by 2020. That will mean 40 percent of models globally will include an electrified option, Ford says.
That total likely includes some combination of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric cars. The product blitz will kick off with the 2017 Focus Electric, an updated version of a car that hasn’t really gotten much attention since it launched in the U.S. in late 2011. Ford hasn’t engaged in the aggressive promotion other manufacturers have with their electric cars.
But the 2017 Focus Electric will get some significant upgrades, including an estimated 100-mile range. That’s a major improvement over the current car’s EPA-rated 76-mile range, and will make the Ford competitive with the 2016 Nissan Leaf, which has a 107-mile range with the optional 30-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The Focus Electric will also get a new DC fast-charging system, which allows for an 80-percent charge in 30 minutes.
In addition to the Focus Electric, Ford currently offers Fusion and C-Max hybrids and plug-in hybrids in the U.S. New versions of these models could be on the way as well. The rest of the 13-model rollout will probably consist of hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of other models. Ford previously offered an Escape hybrid, but decided not to do so on the current generation. Maybe Toyota’s launch of its RAV4 Hybrid will cause the Blue Oval to change its mind.
The updated Focus Electric will arrive next year. Other models will presumably follow shortly after that, if Ford really does plan on reaching its 13-model goal by 2020. Such ambitious electrification strategies are becoming more commonplace as carmakers work to meet tougher emissions standards, both in the U.S. and abroad.