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Ford’s EV chief on how the automaker will spend its $4.5 billion EV investment


Late last year Ford announced a $4.5 billion investment in EV technology and 13 new electric models coming to its lineup by 2020. Today Ford’s EV chief Kevin Layden  sat down with Automotive News and discussed the company’s electric vehicle plans.

When asked how Ford will spend its $4.5 billion investment in electric vehicle technology, Layden said:

“Ford will deliver 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020. This is the big push,delivering more and better electrified vehicles — [hybrid-electric vehicles], PHEV and BEV.

As part of this effort, we will be driving down costs of batteries, inverters and other EV components. We’ll develop the next generation of the Powersplit front-wheel-drive transmission and rear-wheel-drive applications previously announced.”

The “Powersplit front-wheel-drive transmission” is what Ford is calling its hybrid drivetrain system.

In addition, Layden said that Ford is working with its supplier partners to bring to market new battery technology and investing in R&D with the University of Michigan.

Ford is expected to launch a new version of its only all-electric car, the Ford Focus Electric, later this year. The vehicle is expected to have a range of about 100 miles – up from the 76 miles range of the current version. Ford is considered to be lagging behind several other automakers when it comes to electric transport. Hopefully, the investment will payoff and we will start to see some long-range all-electric models coming out of this legendary automaker.

You can read Layden’s full Q&A here.

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  1. freedomev - 7 years ago

    Unless they bring out decent EV’s soon they will be left behind. And $4.5B for them isn’t very much.

  2. Nick - 7 years ago

    The upside for Tesla in this race towards EVs is that they get to focus 100% of efforts on immediately creating the best EV vehicles possible with no impact on their other vehicle products.

    ICE companies have to slowly turn their ships around due to so much of their capital, equipment, supply chain and shareholder expectations being invested in current technology.

    This is why I believe that their (ICE companies) current/proposed EVs don’t yet stack up against Tesla products because if they built let’s say a Cadillac EV that rivaled the model S (range, reviews, features, etc.), all their current/future gas powered Cadillacs would immediately lose intrinsic/financial value.

    Just my 2 cents

  3. Nathanael - 7 years ago

    It’s very interesting. The other carmakers are starting to compete, but they are still making mistakes — misreading the market — which Tesla solved early on.

    No charging network. Charging too slow. Range too small. Bad placement of battery. Lack of battery thermal management. Platform designed for ICE. Hybrids rather than BEVs. Limited geographical release. Dealers unwilling to push the car.

    Each of the carmakers is slowly correcting these mistakes but it takes them years, and every year they go without fixing a mistake is another year where Tesla holds an advantage. It’s fascinating to watch. The big carmakers could have crushed Tesla if they’d had the right attitude, but they just didn’t (and Musk knew they had the wrong attitude when he financed Tesla) and as a result they keep playing catch-up.

    At some point they will catch up, and Tesla may not be a great investment at that point. But judging by this, that point is not gonna be this year and it’s not gonna be 2020.

    • Stephen Davies - 7 years ago

      Hybrids are needed in many parts of the world. There are places that are just not economic to install charging stations until the volume of EV’s warrants them.
      I visit (for my job) parts of the world where there is basically no electricity or at most the supply is erratic. How would your precious BEV fare then eh?

      Frankly until we get vehicles with a range that equalts what I could get from my old Saab Diesel (700-800 miles on a tank) then an awful lot of people will say no to pure Electric Vehicles.
      The replacement cost for batteries is also another big worry to people. My Hybrid has replaceable cells costing around $50 each. Does that not make more sense that having to spend thousands on replacing the whole battery?

      That is not to say that the technology won’t improve over the next 3-5 years, it will. The cost of batteries will come down and the whole BEV package will become more acceptable to more people. I hope that the days of ‘gotta find a charging point before I run out of battery’ will be a thing of the past.

      The inductry does need companies like Tesla to really get the ball rolling but I see their influence on the market diminishing over time as the ICE makers get their act together.

      • Nathanael - 7 years ago

        I’m not worried about the electricity supply. I’m following the rise of solar panels (unstoppable and probably accelerating) and batteries (early days yet, but it looks like demand exceeds demand for cars).

        I’m not worried about replacement cost for batteries because they last upwards of 10 years. Maybe 20 or more.

        I agree that at some point Tesla will have serious competitors. At the moment I think BYD is the only serious competitor and they haven’t moved outside their home market of China. I may have missed other Chinese competitors, though.

        The ICE companies should be competitors, but they keep determinedly producing stuff which is several years behind the state of the art. I expect them to catch up eventually, but not in 2020. Maybe the first one will catch up in 2022, but most of them seem like they’ll still be behind the curve by 2025.


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