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Ford accelerates global development of electric vehicles

The annual North American International Auto Show has tended to be overshadowed by the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in recent years, but news from the show that Ford is planning significantly higher investment in electric vehicles than previously disclosed has certainly grabbed headlines.

According to the company’s chairman, Bill Ford, the automotive giant is planning to increase its investment in electric vehicles from $4.5billion to $11billion by 2022, with 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model line-up.

That’s a significantly higher level of investment than previously disclosed and includes costs associated with developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures.

Ford is currently spending over $7billion a year on research and development and this announcement follows on from the company’s decision to slash spending on its traditional mainstay, the internal combustion engine.

According to Ford of the 40 electrified vehicles planned, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids.

Ford’s move mirrors similar decisions by General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen who have all been reacting to consumer and regulatory pressures as well as the growing competitive threat of Tesla.

While this year’s Auto Show may be short of big technology stories its laying the foundation for the automotive industry of the not too distant future.

Neil Tyler

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