Ford Motor Co decided that they will significantly increase their planned investments in electric vehicles to $11bn by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model line-up.
Raj Nair, Head of Ford's North American operations has admitted that such moves are "rightful" adding: "We believe man-made Carbon dioxide is contributing to climate change and we've got our part to play". Ford's engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.
The American vehicle giant said the increased spending will lead to 16 fully electric and 24 hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. "The only question is whether customers will be with us and we think they will", added he.
Volkswagen said in November that it plans to spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving by the end of 2022.
With reduced battery costs and increased regulatory requirements worldwide for internal combustion engines, the vehicle manufacturers are stepping up their investments on wholly electric models. His replacement Jim Hackett has vowed to cut costs and drop some auto models from the lineup to refocus the company's future on sport utility vehicles, trucks and electrification. The automaker's president of global markets, Jim Farley, said on Sunday that Ford would bring a high-performance electric utility vehicle to market by 2020. While the segment comprises less that 1 percent of annual deliveries in the USA, global demand is expected to rise as governments phase out gasoline and diesel engines and batteries reach price parity with traditional powertrains.
"This $11bn you're seeing, that means we're all in now", he said.
Sixteen of those, including the Mach 1, will be all-electric. It will be an electric SUV. "And that is to electrify our iconic nameplates that tend to be higher transaction price vehicles".