Ford Announces 13 ‘Electrified’ Models, Inc. Hybrid Mustang, Hybrid F150 Pickup, 300-Mile Electric SUV

Since vocal climate change skeptic and friend of the oil industry Donald J Trump won the 2016 U.S. Presidential election back in November, there’s been something of a grey cloud hanging over much of the electric vehicle world. With similar-minded individuals appointed to control the EPA and DoE — two of the government agencies we can thank for the progress electric vehicles have made in recent years — the fear that all support for electric vehicles will be withdrawn come post-inauguration is a very real one.

There’s a hybrid F150 on the way by 2020, says Ford

Indeed, with the overwhelming majority of the auto industry signing a letter to Trump back in December asking him to ease new fuel economy and emissions standards, electric vehicle advocates have been gearing up for a fight the likes of which have not been seen since the repeal of California’s ZEV mandate at the turn of the century.

Yet Ford, who was one of the consignees asking for the Federal Government to ease its fuel economy and emissions standards, has just stunned the auto world with the announcement of a raft of new electrified models it plans to build over the next three years, including a 300-mile all-electric SUV, hybrid police vehicles, a plug-in hybrid variant of the Ford Transit Connect light commercial vehicle in Europe…and hybrid versions of the iconic Ford Mustang and high-volume Ford F150 Pickup Truck.

No plug yet — but Ford says a hybrid Mustang is on the way.

The announcement, made just before the doors opened on the first press day for CES 2017, is part of a $4.5 billion investment that Ford is making in developing electrified and autonomous vehicles, and will include a raft of new jobs at its Flat Rock production facility in Michigan. The facility, which recently received a $700 million investment to expand production capabilities, will become home to several of Ford’s planned new models, including the as-yet-unnamed 300-mile electric SUV and the promised hybrid Ford Mustang.

It’s easy of course to view Ford’s investment as another way to build more compliance cars in order to satisfy zero emission vehicle mandates in states like California as well as allow Ford to meet the ever-increasingly tough Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards it has been railing against for decades.  But in its press release, Ford CEO Mark Fields seems committed to a future where suck, squeeze, bang and blow isn’t the primary source of income for the company.

“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,” he said. “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years.”

While Ford has reiterated its commitment to electrified vehicles and reducing emissions however, we should note that of the thirteen new models promised before 2020, only a few will be purely electric. The rest will be either hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, with limited (if any) electric vehicle capabilities. Nevertheless, Ford’s move is one in the right direction. Given Ford’s massive market share, especially in the SUV and Pickup segment, increasing gas mileage and reducing emissions of its vehicles by introducing a hybrid drivetrain will have a sizeable impact on overall emissions across the fleet.

But of course, Ford has been here before. It once made an all-electric pickup. It made a very capable Hybrid SUV. Both were killed. And if we’re brutally honest, Ford could choose to do the same again with these new vehicles it promises.

Let’s not forget Ford once made a fully-electric pickup…

This time however, like other automakers of late, it seems that Ford is more serious. It has also opted to focus on electric and electrified vehicles in preference to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, a move that is great news for anyone who likes their car to come with a plug (although Ford is also working on its own wireless inductive charging technology to eliminate the plug for good).

With any announcement like this, the proof is always in the pudding, but it’s certainly good news to see Ford continue towards a more electrified fleet given the massive change in policy we’re going to see coming from the White House. As a global automaker, Ford has to respond to global trends as one as more local ones, and we suspect the trend toward electric vehicles outside of the U.S. is helping it push for more electric vehicles at home too.

Do you agree? Do you think Ford’s announcement carries some weight? Or is it simply a smoke and mirror show full of empty promises given how little attention Ford has paid to electric vehicles thus far?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • Richard Goldsmith

    I know there will be those in the EVangelist community who do question the sincerity of this announcement, but I don’t. It is fair enough, after all :- once bitten twice shy etc…

    This time round, I think there will have been many board room discussions held about the inevitability of the shift to electrification of transport, and their focus now (pun not intended) is to work out how to do so as to bring their whole customer base with them. They all know they can do it, but they are trying to avoid pushing their customer base faster than they trust them to follow.

    Add into the equation a massive enthusiastic marketplace like China and I am sure they will be delivering and will even ramp up the schedule if they find customers worldwide who are buying.

    Tesla only needs to sell to customers who have already made the decision to drive electric. The others need to woo those that haven’t yet, and that’s where their uncertainty lies.

  • Loren McDonald

    There did seem to be a bit of discontinuity in Mark Fields’ comments. He declared the future is electric cars, but then announced only one pure BEV – granted a 300-mile small SUV (a huge need in the market). But then why are the F-150 and Mustang being made as regular, rather than PHEVs? Seems like the BEV SUV is more like a trial ballon until the market forces them to go fully electric with most of their fleet. So, his words were encouraging, but the action and model announcements were a bit disappointing.

    • Pamela

      I think when Magna wowed ford with the Focus Electric it woke the giant up. Ford has been quietly hiring EV engineers like crazy the past few years. I think Ford management has seen the writing on the wall. They did buy one of the first Tesla Model Xs off the line to dissect it and see what they might learn from it. As much as I’d love to see them jump in and take the lead on EVs I think their cautious approach is what’s best for the long term viability of the company. With the margin difference between EVs and ICE vehicles it doesn’t make sense for Ford to lose a bunch of money pushing EVs right now. They are learning from the Focus Electric and their plug in hybrids, improving their EV tech and moving in the direction of pure EV. As costs come down and the EV tech matures they will be in a good position to make the eventual shift to majority EV production and remain profitable. There had been rumors of a 200mi Model E and that potentially could spawn a line of vehicles instead of just a model. As behind the curve as Ford has been with EVs I think they will surprise us in the next 2-5 years.

  • just someone old

    i think in the usa “cafe” mathers more than anything else
    just too big a market to ignore
    and as ev/phev get cheaper to build it just makes sense to do
    private ownership of cars slows down, and fleets grow. fleets look at TCO
    if ford wants to keep selling to fleets, they better build ev/phev’s

  • Martin Lacey

    2016 can be classed as the year Ford changed it’s tune on EV’s.

    Not so long ago they said that 76 mile range (Focus EV) was all EV’s required and now they’re going all out to produce a 300 mile range SUV.

  • Albemarle

    I think Ford has seen the positive press GM has received because of the Bolt EV and they want some of that. I think it took Ford totally by surprise. Tesla has gotten lots of press but not in the automotive press, more in the financial press. So when the Bolt EV receives all these awards from the old-style regular automotive media, Ford suddenly woke up.

    No one seems to hold auto manufacturers to their future program plans (except Tesla of course), so it’s pretty safe to dream on. Not to say they aren’t working on these vehicles, just that plans can change as circumstances change.

    Like when my kids used to tell me how much homework they were planning on getting done over the weekend. Easy to say; proof is in the pudding.

    Show me the cars, Ford!