Ford today detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the U.S., a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles for customers globally.
The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The expansion will create 700 direct new jobs.
The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020, offering customers greater fuel efficiency, capability and power across Ford’s global vehicle lineup. The plans are part of the company’s expansion to be an auto and a mobility company, including leading in electrified and autonomous vehicles and providing new mobility solutions.
Ford is canceling plans for a new $1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and investing $700 million in the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant’s expansion; Ford will build its next-generation Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, to improve company profitability
Tesla pushing for big 2017 and 2018 production
Tesla delivered 76,230 vehicles in 2016, falling slightly short of its goal of delivering 80,000 cars for the year. The electric carmaker claimed that “short-term production challenges” starting at the end of October were to blame for the shipment of fewer vehicles than anticipated.
Tesla said the transition to new Autopilot hardware resulted in the company’s vehicle production being “weighted more heavily towards the end of the quarter than we had originally planned.” In total, about 2,750 Tesla vehicles missed being counted as deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2016, which the company ascribes to “last-minute delays in transport or because the customer was unable to physically take delivery.”
Elon Musk has promised to start building and delivering Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan, by the end of 2017 and ramp up sales of solar roofs and battery packs for home and business power storage. Last year, nearly Tesla got nearly 400,000 reservations for the new model, which is to have a base price near $35,000.
In May, he said the company will be producing a half million cars a year by 2018, up from a bit below 100,000 set as a target for 2016
Transforming vehicle production 10-fold over three years is a very big job. Beyond quality and safety, there’s relationships with a global supply chain. A delay getting parts and components over to the Gigafactory in Nevada will throw off the production schedule and hurt profits, as Tesla’s major competitors can attest to.
“Delivering a brand new electric vehicle built from scratch is not an easy task to accomplish,” said Raj Rajkumar, an expert in autonomous and electric vehicles at Carnegie Mellon University, who was interviewed by Wired.
Rajkumar thinks 2018 is a more realistic year than 2017 to start deliveries. Tesla has said it will get the $35,000 200-mile plus car out during 2017.