“Hybrids for years have been mostly niche products but are now on the cusp of a mainstream breakout,” Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets said. “The valuable capability they offer — plus fuel efficiency — is why we’re going to offer hybrid variants of our most popular and high-volume vehicles, allowing our loyal, passionate customers to become advocates for the technology.”
The company will roll out battery-electric vehicles in 2020 and plans to release 16 such vehicles by 2022. The expansion of the hybrid/EV offerings also comes as Ford and other OEMs work with the Trump administration to ease emissions standards while also attempting to harmonize federal regulations with California’s environmental requirements.
“Throwing a charger in the trunk of a vehicle and sending customers on their way isn’t enough to help promote the viability of electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles at Ford. “In addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that currently hold back broad adoption today.”
Ford also plans to improve its manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicles. The company will halve floor space for final assembly operations and reduce capital investment 50 percent, while also improving labor efficiency by 30 percent.
According to Amberson, the increased number of EVs and hybrids should encourage more shops to get certified. “The advantage of the OE certifications is that you get exposed to those technologies, early,” Amberson says. “As those technologies become more mainstream, you are already adapted to it. “
For the new hybrid and EV Ford’s, shops can expect additions to factory repair procedures that reflect the additional safety concerns related to the battery technologies used in the vehicles. If Ford can truly drive wider adoption of these alternative fuel vehicles, repairers may need to make new investments in tooling and equipment to repair them.