Ford doesn’t have much to show for when it comes to all-electric vehicles aside for the Focus Electric, a compliance car converted from the gas-powered version, and a lot of press releases, but the automaker now teases a series of new electric vehicles and its strategy to convince customers to go electric.
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Last year, Ford’s new CEO, Jim Hackett formed a new internal team, called ‘Team Edison’, to oversee electric car programs and he shifted one-third of internal combustion engine investments to electric cars, but the company is still investing more in the former than the latter.
The company’s electrification plan is still hybrid heavy over all-electric, but Ford announced an acceleration of its electric effort with 16 all-electric models and 24 hybrids earlier this year.
Now they are unveiling their “refresh lineup for 2020”, which is when they plan to introduce their first all-electric vehicle built to be electric from the ground up, an all-electric CUV with 300 miles of range.
Ford now says that they are “rethinking the ownership experience so it is more seamless than with today’s gas-powered vehicles” and that means “making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features.”
Of course, Tesla popularized over-the-air software updates in vehicles and its Supercharger network is often cited as one of the company’s biggest advantages.
Other automakers coming with electric vehicles have been trying to address those advantages, but they are often restricted in the range of their software updates because of their dealerships having contracts over servicing the vehicles and software updates are sometimes included in those contracts.
As for charging infrastructure, no other automaker went as deep as Tesla in owning the charging experience, but Ford now wants to give it a try.
Sherif Marakby, Vice President of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles at Ford, commented:
“Throwing a charger in the trunk of a vehicle and sending customers on their way isn’t enough to help promote the viability of electric vehicles. In addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that currently hold back broad adoption today.”
The company already started being more involved by being part of the Ionity charging network in Europe.
Ford also claims that its BEV manufacturing plan will be significantly more efficient than what is currently being done with what they claim will be “half the floor space for final assembly operations and reduce capital investment 50 percent”.
The automaker previously said that it projects a “30-percent improvement in labor efficiency”, which will mean that they will have to “redeploy employees to do other jobs, including assembly of battery packs.”
Again, we will see Ford’s first new all-electric vehicle in 2020 and five more will follow over the next two years after that.