Ford To Invest $4.5 Billion In Electric Vehicles - InformationWeek
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12/11/2015
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Ford To Invest $4.5 Billion In Electric Vehicles

The company looks to improve upon the existing electric vehicles in its stable and add 13 new ones by 2020 as part of a $4.5 billion investment.

Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

American automaker Ford announced its intention to invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020, adding 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by the end of the decade. That will represent more than 40% of the company's global nameplates.

Ford's first vehicle to launch under the initiative will be an updated Focus Electric, which will debut next year with an improved DC fast-charge capability that the company claims will deliver an 80% charge in around half an hour -- an estimated two hours faster than today's Focus Electric.

In addition, the Focus, which comes in a sedan and hatchback model, will have a projected 100-mile range.

(Image: E_Y_E/iStockphoto)

(Image: E_Y_E/iStockphoto)

"The challenge going forward isn't who provides the most technology in a vehicle but who best organizes that technology in a way that most excites and delights people," Raj Nair, executive vice president of product development at Ford, said in a statement. "By observing consumers, we can better understand which features and strengths users truly use and value and create even better experiences for them going forward."

The Focus Electric, which will be available to North American and European customers, will also feature Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide LCD instrument cluster to help drivers see real-time EV power usage, and Brake Coach, which teaches the driver how to use smooth braking to maximize energy captured through the vehicle's Regenerative Braking System.

While the Focus Electric will initially only be available in those two regions, Ford is also planning expanding its EV offerings to growing markets, including China, Korea, and Taiwan.

"As both an auto and a mobility company, we at Ford are going further than just designing the product to move people from point A to point B," Nair continued. "We are considering the way customers interact with our vehicles as a unified experience, looking for ways to excite and delight customers and make their lives better."

Ford is also planning investment in global social science-based research to gather insight as to how users interact with vehicles. It has invested $2.1 million in a battery lab at the University of Michigan to boost research and development.

[Find out why Porsche is picking Apple's CarPlay for its vehicles.]

The company hopes to gain insight into the cognitive, social, cultural, technological, and economic factors that influence product design.

In addition, Ford is doubling the number of projects that use ethnographic research over this year's number with the help of ReD, a social science-based strategy consultancy.

"This new way of working brings together marketing, research, engineering and design in a new way to create meaningful user experiences, rather than individually developing technologies and features that need to be integrated into a final product," Nair said.

"We are using new insights from anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists and designers, along with traditional business techniques, to reimagine our product development process, create new experiences and make life better for millions of people."

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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
12/27/2015 | 7:37:47 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
>  There is also the problem of batteries, newer batteries have a greater number of cycles
> and old batteries have a lesser amount of cycles remaining. Imagine, a consumer buying
> a new EV with new batteries only for it to be replaced with 5 year old batteries the next day
> -- the manufacturer will have to own the batteries or no consumer is going to make this exchange.

@Brian:

What if you get to buy the car but not the battery. The battery doesnt come with the car. The consumer pays rental for the fully charged battery, gets it swapped when empty and then she pays rental for the next fully charged battery.

In this case the charging cycles remaining, the age and life of the battery are no longer consumer's concerns. She pays for one full charge at a time.
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
12/27/2015 | 7:26:14 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
@Gary:

> There will be too many differnt types of batteries to stock, and the cost will be WAY too hight.
> The batteries weigh several hundred pounds, and are VERY tempermental. Highly skilled technicians
> will be needed, as opposed to the teenaged slackers 

Arent the different battery types going to get converged into a fewer standards?

For the weight of the battery & the replacement time, don't tyres pose the same problem - although to a small scale and frequency. Batteries, even heavy weight, can be made easy & quick to swap.

For the expertise level at the stations, the battery casing can be designed as such that the different terminals cant be inter-replaced, just as the SIM cards and USB slots. They only go one way in!
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 12:28:24 PM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
I wrote an article for another publication earlier this year about that issue. At that time, there were three standards gathering steam: A US/European standard, a Japanese standard, and one for Tesla. But, I believe the real issues will be a very dramatic increase in the US electrical generating capacity when electric cars become more widespread, plus the creation and expansion of the smart grid for control and distribution. However, the bottleneck is the battery. When I read about electric cars, the only issue that interests me is battery progress.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 7:54:49 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour

@Gary agree with you here that stocking a large number of batteries is not possible for a single station. I believe that once many other companys start building these electric cars then this problem of availability of batteries will be a more graver issue. I am not sure whether there will be a single battery charging station for all the different build of vehicles or every make will be having its own battery charging area. Any one with betetr knowledge can elaborate?

nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 7:49:39 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour

@Jastroff agree. But my humble assumption is that if some company is willing to invest a heavy amount like 4.5 Billion they must be having something up there sleeves to make that ROI possible. But if we go with their reputation I will go by your assumption.

mak63
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0%
mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 1:15:26 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
swap your out-of-charge battery with a fully-charged battery?

We can only dream... Perhaps in 50 years. But at that time, we're gonna need bigger batteries for the flying and aquatic car.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
12/14/2015 | 5:25:38 PM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
One problem with the gigafactory is that it may soon be obsolete. It is designed to produce present-day lithium ion batteries. The next generation will depend heavily on nano-tech, and the manufacturing process is entirely different.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
12/14/2015 | 7:22:28 AM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
Gotta agree here. Range needs to be massively improved, though I'm interested to see what Tesla's much more efficient and cheaper battery production will allow when it's gigafactory comes online. Other manufacturers seem very likely to take advantage of that.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/13/2015 | 10:29:21 PM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
Another thing is battery life - if I use the car for 5 years, will the battery life decay to just half? Then it means that I can drive 200mile or less each time...
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/13/2015 | 6:18:41 PM
Re: 80% charge in around half an hour
I agree, it seems that it will be a very expensive Formula 1 style pit stop. There is also the problem of batteries, newer batteries have a greater number of cycles and old batteries have a lesser amount of cycles remaining. Imagine, a consumer buying a new EV with new batteries only for it to be replaced with 5 year old batteries the next day -- the manufacturer will have to own the batteries or no consumer is going to make this exchange.

Ford is doing a great job by investing $4.5 billion into their EV lineup. It will be good if Ford manages to develop a 1 kWh battery for $100 by 2020.  
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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