Ford recently announced its plans to invest additional $4.5 billion in electrified vehicle technologies.
This is the biggest 5-year investment Ford has ever granted for the development of electric vehicles. Ford's fleet is to see 13 new electrified cars added to its product portfolio by 2020, with over 40 per cent of Ford's models electrified by the end of this decade all over the world.
Next year, Ford will reveal the new Focus Electric with the new DC fast-charge capability that will - in approximately 30 minutes - deliver an 80 per cent charge of the battery pack, giving the car a 160-kilometer range. This means it will be at least two hours faster than today's Focus Electric.
Ford is taking their electric vehicles to Europe and Asia as well. According to the company, they are focusing on providing their customers with a better overall experience, so they are adjusting the development of their future products to customer's actual needs. In addition to their traditional market research, Ford is also investing in social science-based research, which is to reveal how consumers interact with vehicles. On top of that, Ford aims to gain a better understanding of cognitive, social, cultural, technological and economic nuances that affect product design. In comparison to this year, in 2016 the company will double the number of projects that use this type of ethnographic research.
This global expansion of Ford's electric vehicle research and development will see advantages in developing battery technology and powertrains, because by exchanging and sharing experiences from various labs in real time, the new technology will develop much faster, while reducing the number of costly prototypes.
They are accelerating the development by using innovative hardware and software systems called HIL (Hardware in a Loop), which will enable the testing of battery technology and control system hardware in a virtual environment.