Ford Motor Co. is planning to bring back a Ford Escape hybrid, but as a plug in this time, also as a roll out hybrid versions of its full size SUVs as it stimulates more into electrification toward the end of the decade.
According to sources that are familiar with the plan, the Lincoln Navigator hybrid, Escape plug in hybrid, and the Ford Expedition hybrid are slated to be released in 2019. These vehicles are three of the 13 electrified models Ford plans to release in the next five years. The automaker named the seven other models, including hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150 which will be available by 2020.
The automaker reported that it is cashing out and invest $4.5 billion to develop the 13 vehicles. As stated by an analyst, “They're at a critical point in their strategy, and that's trying to balance today and tomorrow. 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.”
Ford is trying to surge fuel economy without creating range anxiety for buyers who take long road trip, hence the adding of hybrid versions of the automaker’s largest SUVs. Revamped and gasoline-powered versions of the Expedition and Navigator will arrive in dealerships next month, as Ford is looking forward to invest on a popular segment. According to LMC Automotive forecast, huge SUV sales will increase 25 percent by 2022.
Crossovers continue to become a thing as well, so Ford is planning to add plug-in hybrid versions of their two compact offerings in 2019. The automaker sold a hybrid version of the Escape from 2004 to 2012, when it was no longer available to sell due to slow sales and the launch of C-Max hatchback, which is available as a traditional hybrid and as a plug-in.
A plug-in hybrid can be used and driven to limited distances without using gasoline and is more efficient in city centers or on shorter trips, which attracts to the tech-savvy younger buyers of the Escape and MKC.
According to an analyst, “Each of these alternative powertrains has advantages and disadvantages. I think you have to take a basket approach; there's a lot of risk of just focusing on one technology.”
Ford’s perspective with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles would be that they play a central role in innovation shaped by autonomous cars and shared transportation. According to the vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, “That's why the fuel efficiency and total range of a hybrid-electric vehicle makes the most sense initially.”
Marakby also noted that Ford brand is the second biggest producer of hybrids in the United States, after the Toyota brand. The second-largest automaker also plans a fully electric small SUV with a range of at least 300 miles, which is anticipated to be called Model E, by 2020 and an autonomous hybrids in 2021.
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