Production of Ford’s first autonomous vehicle will also begin in 2021.
Hybrid powertrains are becoming increasingly prevalent in Ford's lineup. It's already been confirmed that popular models such as the Escape, Explorer, Mustang, F-150, and the forthcoming reborn Bronco will get hybrid options, and now the automaker has announced there will be a hybrid option on "every new Ford SUV introduced." Ford's hybridization strategy will come into effect "in the next few years," but this effectively means that most new models will be offered with a hybrid powertrain since Ford will no longer be selling sedans or small cars by 2022.
To implement these plans, Ford is moving its dedicated global electric vehicle organization, Ford Team Edison, and autonomous vehicle business team into a refurbished former factory located in Corktown, Detroit, spanning 45,000 square feet as part of a $11.1 billion investment in EV development. "Moving our teams to Corktown will further enhance our electric and autonomous vehicle development," said Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president, autonomous vehicles and electrification. "It gives our teams the workspace they need to promote collaboration and big thinking, and an urban setting that delivers crucial insight for both programs."
The work done in Corktown will also help accelerate the development of Ford's battery-electric vehicle program. Ford is planning to launch 40 electrified vehicles globally by 2022, including 16 fully electric vehicles like the Mustang-inspired electric SUV, which we recently learned will be built on a unique platform. While many electrified vehicles focus on efficiency, Ford wants to electrify its vehicles to improve performance, capability and convenience. The F-150 hybrid, for example, will have an onboard electric generator that can power tools at a job site. In addition, Ford also confirmed its autonomous and electric vehicle teams will be collaborating to work on a purpose-built self-driving vehicle.
Powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain, Ford says the unannounced model will feature "dependable safety features," as well as commercial-grade quality and improved durability to "operate in tough urban environments." Designed for businesses, Ford believes its first autonomous vehicle will allow owners to "grow their operations as well as provide great, intuitive experiences to the customers they interact with." Production will begin in 2021.