Ford totally stole CES 2017 with its announcements over building a whole new range of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. The announcement unveiled that seven of thirteen planned “global electrified vehicles” will be all set to hit the roads in the next five years. The most significant and convincing declaration from the CES press conference was about a brand-new, fully electric small SUV and a new fully autonomous car that will support ride sharing fleet, to be released by 2021.
Flat Rock, Michigan, is destined to be the new building place for these cars. $700 million has been invested in the plan of expanding the facility there, which will come at the cost of the $1.6 billion Mexico plant project, that was canceled.
In order to ease the charging of vehicles, Ford is developing a wireless charging system whose prototypes would be tested in Europe and North America. The other vehicles on the list include a hybrid F-150, an all-new electric truck and a hybrid Mustang, all targeted for 2020. They too would be built at the Flat Rock facility. Some other vehicles in the list, include a plug-in Transit Custom, and hybrid cars designed exclusively for police use.
Ford’s next generation EV tech would be used to run these vehicles. The tech would enter its testing phase this year. It will be equipped with new services that would take care of its charging and would provide ease of shifting to self drive for the drivers.
The plans for this self-driving vehicle fleet sounds very interesting. Ford is planning a mass production for this car and may even deploy a fleet on an on-demand basis. Which sounds wise considering the fact that the car ownership trends are on decline in dense urban areas, where these vehicles are targeted to be deployed. The company is not alone however, and it would likely find itself facing competition from the likes of Tesla.