"The time is right for Ford to expand our EV lineup and investments in China," Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said in a statement on Tuesday. The auto giant announced their plans to launch a plug-in hybrid car in China by 2018. In addition, within the next five years, they also plan on a fully electric sports utility vehicle addition to their lineup. This moves in accordance to their objective of electrifying most of their fleet for the world's largest auto market. Beijing's policy makers have been urging automakers to sell more electric vehicles by laying out stricter restrictions on emissions, subsidizing electric vehicles in an attempt to not only reduce their air pollution plague but also become a world leader in the electric vehicle market.
Required to have a partnership with a Chinese company in order to sell vehicles in the world's largest auto market, the US auto giant through a joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., plans for roughly 70 percent of their Ford brand vehicles to be conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids or fully electric by 2025. "We are prioritizing our electrification efforts on China to reflect its importance as a global electrified vehicle market and to make lives better, simpler and most cost-effective for Chinese consumers," said Fields. The plug-in hybrid dubbed the Mondeo Energi will have an electric travel range of 31 miles but will have gas fueled capabilities for longer trips. The travel range is aligned with what is currently sold in China since most electric cars sold in the country are used more for daily commutes and errands than for leisure long distance travel. Most fully Chinese built electric cars that are popularly sold in China currently have a travel range of under 100 miles.
Ford's new fully electric SUV will have an estimated travel range of 280 miles. Last month Ford had announced its Lincoln brand would partner with Changan to produce an all-new Lincoln SUV in China by 2019. The joint ventures Ford has invested in 2016 sold a record 1.27 million vehicles in China but the company's imported vehicle volume from 2016 is down from the previous year. The company has recently started exporting the 2017 F-150 Raptor to China. By 2020, the US auto manufacturer plans on producing electrified powertrains in China as well. The announcements align Ford's $4.5 billion, five-year commitment made in 2015 to introduce 13 new global electric vehicles by 2020, seven of which will be launched within that time frame.