Mark Fields, the CEO of the corporation that introduced mass-produced automobiles to the world, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), thinks electric cars are the future. Fields’ company is planning to invest $4.5 billion in electric-car technology and bring out 13 models of electric vehicles by 2020.

Fields predicted that 40% of all vehicles will be either electric or hybrids within the next few years, The Detroit Free Press reported. Few details about how the money will be spent or the new models planned were made available.

It is obvious that Ford needs to play catch up in the electric vehicle race. Its current electric offering, the next version of the Ford Focus, has a range of just 100 miles or 160 kilometers on a battery charge. Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Volkswagen’s subsidiary, Porsche, both claim that their electrics have a range of around 300 miles (a little over 500 kilometers). The Chevy Bolt electric from General Motors that is supposed to go on sale in 2017 is supposed to have a range of 250 miles (402 kilometers).

It also takes around 2.5 hours to charge the Focus to 80% battery capacity; Porsche claims it has a quick charge system that can fill the battery on its Model E concept sports car to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. So it is pretty obvious that Ford will need to do a lot of research and development work just to reach industry standards.

3169593436_a104b7e33f_b

That could be a problem for Ford because it could take the company around five years to produce a competitive electric vehicle, the company’s head of global product development, Raj Nair, admitted.

Why Electric Cars Might Not Have Batteries

Even though Ford’s executives think that electric cars are the future, they are not certain if those cars will have batteries. Instead, all future cars will be either battery or electric powered at some point in the near future, Nair predicted.

That means all vehicles will be electric drive, in which the power to the wheels is provided by electric motors. The electricity can be produced directly by an engine as in a hybrid or taken from a battery.

Why Ford Wants to Go Electric

Electric-drive cars are cheaper to produce and far more versatile than gasoline or diesel-driven vehicles. It is easier to add popular features like all-wheel drive to electrics, and Tesla has demonstrated that electric cars can deliver far greater performance than conventional vehicles.

Ford could use electric drive to deliver the kind of performance now seen in the Tesla S-Series on some of its popular models like the Mustang, even if they are still gasoline powered. For example, it could greatly improve the rate of acceleration and the handling. Tesla has also demonstrated that it will be easier to install self-driving technology on electric vehicles with its Autopilot feature.

Even though it is lagging in electric technology, Ford still has some huge advantages over upstarts like Tesla and Faraday Future, including:

  • A wide variety of models include the F-Series, America’s most popular pickup truck, and the hugely popular Transit and Transit Connect vans. Electric vans in particular could be huge moneymakers for Ford because they are widely used as delivery vehicles. If Ford could bring the first electric van and pickup to market, it would have a commanding position in the marketplace.

 

  • Established infrastructure, including 90 manufacturing plants around the world and a widespread dealership network in the United States and Canada. One of Tesla’s biggest problems is its lack of dealerships through which almost all the cars are sold in North America.
Modern Assembly Line
Modern Assembly Line
  • Next generation engine technology. Ford is developing lighter-weight carbon fiber and aluminum engines that will deliver more horsepower and increased fuel mileage, Car Magazine reported. The new engines that come with Ford’s popular Eco Boast technology should be available within the next few years.

 

  • Expertise in next-generation automotive applications, including a partnership to develop self-driving vehicles with Alphabet, the company formerly known as Google, and its own networked transportation app called the Dynamic Shuttle.

That means Ford, the company that introduced the world’s mass-produced car, the Model T, just before World War One could become a major player in the world of electric vehicles. If Ford succeeds in integrating Google’s self-driving car technology with electric-powered vehicles it and not Tesla could become the world’s leading automaker.

Strangely enough, Elon Musk might actually be happy about that. Ford’s planned investment in electric vehicle technology and Mr. Fields’ statements seem to be justifying Elon’s faith in the electric car. Ford just proved that Musk is right; electric cars could be the future.

https://i0.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ford-focus-electric-front.jpg?fit=800%2C509&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ford-focus-electric-front.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Daniel JenningsInnovationElectric Car,Electric Car Technology,Electric Cars,Electric Vehicle,Elon Musk,Ford,Google,Ride Sharing,TeslaMark Fields, the CEO of the corporation that introduced mass-produced automobiles to the world, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), thinks electric cars are the future. Fields’ company is planning to invest $4.5 billion in electric-car technology and bring out 13 models of electric vehicles by 2020. Fields predicted that 40%...From A Geek to a Geek