Ford announced seven of 13 global electrified vehicles that it plans to introduce in the next five years, which includes hybrid versions of the F-150 pickup and a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van.
Ford also confrimed that a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles is in the works, along with a high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, according to the automaker. These vehicles will be made available in North America, and the plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van will be available in Europe.
The company said it also plans to be aggressive in developing global electrified vehicles services and solutions, which includes electric vehicle (EV) fleet management, route planning, and telematics solutions.
Ford will test a new set of mobility services, telematics, and connectivity solutions later this year, and is currently working on a suite of services for EVs.
“Innovative services can be as important to customers as the electrified vehicles themselves,” said Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of Purchasing and Ford’s EV champion. “We are investing in solutions to help private customers as well as commercial fleet owners seamlessly incorporate these new vehicles and technologies into their lives.”
Ford is also piloting wireless technology on company EVs in the U.S. and Europe as a means to simplify the charging process, according to the automaker.
Ford also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan to support the creation of high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles. The automaker said the expansion at the assembly plant will create 700 direct new jobs over the next four years.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”
The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles for Ford by 2020, according to the automaker.
“As more and more consumers around the world become interested in electrified vehicles, Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles, services and solutions that make people’s lives better,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”
Other vehicles announced by Ford include a hybrid version of the Mustang, and two new, pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles. Ford also said it will be testing a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in New York and several major U.S. cities.
Additionally, Ford announced that its global utility lineup will include its first hybrids powered by EcoBoost rather than naturally aspirated engines.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet