Details Emerge On Ford’s Future Plug-in Car Plans

More information has come forth on Ford’s ongoing plans to develop and launch all-electirc cars, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.

According to sources “with knowledge of Ford’s product plans,” speaking to Automotive News, next up from the Dearborn automaker will be a plug-in hybrid version of the Escape crossover as the first of a cadre of EVs and plug-in hybrids to be slowly unleashed between now and 2021.

The plug-in hybrid version of the popular Escape is reportedly planned for 2019 and given the platform similarities between the Escape and Lincoln MKC, it makes sense to speculate a plug-in variant of the luxury crossover will be offered as well.

In the small-crossover vehicle market, Toyota currently offers a hybrid version of the RAV4 and Honda showed a CR-V Hybrid at the Shanghai Auto Show this year. There has been much consumer interest in these types of vehicles, and Toyota’s sales have climbed ahead of former top-selling Prius variants.

Ford started to sell an Escape Hybrid in 2004 but canceled the model in 2012, blaming anemic sales before shifting its hybrid attention to the then-new C-Max model.

The Blue Oval brand has proven its ability to successfully market and sell hybrid vehicles, pointing to the success of the C-Max and the solid take-rate on its Energi models which are plug-in hybrid variants of the C-Max and Fusion.

To date, Ford has announced the intended production of seven future electrified models, including a hybrid sedan for police fleets and a hybrid Mustang. Striking fear in the hearts of truck purists nationwide, an F-150 hybrid is reportedly in the works as well.

More importantly, the company has also announced an unnamed Bolt competitor in the form of an all-electric small SUV with a 300-mile range. In a nod to Ford’s history – and to the chagrin of Tesla which also wanted the name for the Model 3 – it’ll likely be called the Model E.

READ MORE: Ford Confirms 300-Mile Range Electric SUV

When Jim Hackett was installed as Ford’s CEO back in May of this year, he promised to review product plans. At the time, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford described Mr. Hackett as a “change agent.” Viewed through that lens, the introduction of these new models should surprise no one.

Speaking to the industry publication Automotive News, Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, pointed out that Ford is at a strategic critical crossroads. “You don’t want to go all in on EVs at this point because that’s not going to pay the bills and keep the lights on today, but you also don’t want to get behind,” elaborated Mr. Schuster.

Adding the speculated electric variants to the formally announced models, Ford could potentially have more than a dozen models in the EV and plug-in hybrid market by 2020.


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