A day after we reported on Ford potentially going ‘all-in’ on all-electric vehicles under new leadership, the American automaker announced a new expansion of its all-electric vehicle lineup.
Though it’s only for the Chinese market.
Today, Ford announced that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co., Ltd., a major manufacturer of all-electric vehicles in China, for a joint-venture for “the development, production, marketing and servicing of a new line of all-electric passenger vehicles.”
Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president for Asia Pacific, commented on the announcement:
“The potential to launch a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is an exciting next step for Ford in China. Electric vehicles will be a big part of the future in China and Ford wants to lead in delivering great solutions to customers.”
The two companies confirmed that if the deal goes through, the new electric vehicles would be produced under a new brand. More details are to be announced “at a later date.”
The country’s ZEV mandate is quite aggressive. Automakers need zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to represent 8% of new car sales as soon as 2018 and quickly ramp up to 12% by 2020.
That’s motivating a lot of automakers to invest in electric vehicles in China in order to keep their access to the world’s largest automotive market and Ford is the latest example.
Virtually all automakers (except for Tesla) have asked China to slow down their electric car mandate, but the government seems determined to go forward with its plan.
The current dangerous levels of air pollution often reaching the country’s megacities are certainly creating a sense of urgency that the auto industry’s lobbying effort doesn’t seem to be able to beat.