Ford's electric-vehicle strategy: absorb costs in most profitable trucks


2016 Ford F-150

2016 Ford F-150

Earlier this year, Ford announced that it would significantly expand its lineup of electrified vehicles—including mild hybrids with advanced start-stop systems, regular hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and perhaps a battery-electric model or two.

By the end of 2019, Ford expects powertrains with some kind of electrification to be available in 40 percent of its global nameplates.

At its recent Investor Day presentation, the Dearborn automaker unveiled a strategy to get investors onboard with this plan.

DON'T MISS: Ford F-150 Hybrid Pickup Truck By 2020 Reconfirmed, But Diesel Too? (Dec 2015)

Ford will try to negate the higher costs of hybrid and electric powertrains by deploying them aggressively in high-profit trucks and commercial vehicles, according to financial website The Motley Fool.

Rather than focus efforts on electrified vehicles that compete directly with models from other manufacturers, Ford plans to add hybrid and all-electric powertrains to the models it already sells in large volumes.

That means pickup trucks and SUVs, rather than less profitable passenger sedans and hatchbacks.

2017 Ford Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty

Ford believes it is safer to play to its strengths instead of the specific demands of the hybrid or electric-car segments.

This will help Ford reach the "tipping point" where the number of electrified powertrain offerings exceed plain old internal-combustion engines, Ford product boss Raj Nair said during the presentation.

He expects that transition to occur around 2030.

ALSO SEE: Updated 2017 Ford Focus Electric: 100-Mile Range, DC Fast Charging (Dec 2015)

The Ford presentation did not include any announcements of specific future products, although the carmaker is widely believed to be readying a hybrid version of its F-150 full-size pickup truck for launch by 2020.

Ford's efforts also won't be limited to trucks and commercial vehicles.

It will continue to sell hybrid and plug-in hybrid Energi versions of the Fusion mid-size sedan and C-Max tall wagon.

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

Late last year, Ford also announced an update of the Focus Electric compact that would include a boost in range from the current 76 miles to 100 miles.

No details of that updated Focus Electric have been released as yet, though it will obviously pale in comparison to the 238-mile rating of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, also a five-door hatchback on a compact platform.

Ford is rumored as well to be developing a dedicated electric model based on the next-generation Focus platform.

MORE: 2019 Ford 'Model E' hybrid, electric car coming from Mexico plant?

Known as the Model E, that vehicle is expected to start production in 2019 at Ford's new Mexico factory.

In addition to the all-electric option, it may be offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains as well.

[hat tip: John Briggs]

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