By October 2, 2017 Read More →

Ford, GM ramp up EV development plans


Sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV have been slow, but Chevy says it plans to offer 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023. Chevrolet photo.

Ford EV development under “Team Edison”

Two major American automakers are speeding up development of electric vehicles.  Ford and GM both released ambitious plans to build EVs after a number of governments announced they would restrict the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the coming years.

Ford Motor Co has formed “Team Edison” and has tasked the Detroit-based group with accelerating the company’s development of electric vehicles.

Reuters reports a Ford executive says the mission of Team Edison is to “think big” and “make quicker decisions”.  The group will work with regional Ford vehicle electrification teams in Europe and China.

energy eastSherif Marakby, vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification told Reuters that one of the missions of Team Edison is to identify and develop EV partnerships with other companies, including suppliers.

He added that the global demand for EVs has a “significant potential to increase” in light of government EV mandates and quotas.

Marakby told Reuters that Ford says it plans to spend $4.5 billion over five years on EVs, including plug-in hybrids, but he declined to say how many new EVs Ford will build in the future.

China, India, France and the United Kingdom have all recently announced they will phase out sales of internal combustion engine vehicles between 2030 and 2040.

At General Motors, the company is vowing to build and sell 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.

 “GM believes the future is all electric, a world free of automotive emissions,” Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, said while speaking with reporters at the company’s technical centre north of Detroit on Monday. “It’s real.”

GM, the largest automaker in the US, currently generates most of its profit through sales of large SUVs and pickup trucks.

The company plans to have a lineup of both battery-powered vehicles and hydrogen-fuel-cell automobiles which also run on electricity.  GM will unveil two new EVs in the coming 18 months.

The move comes despite the slow sales of the GM Bolt, which has the range of about 238 miles between charges.  So far, most of the under 12,000 sales of Bolts have been in California where the state has mandated sales of emissions-less vehicles.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said GM will have 10 new-energy vehicles in China by 2020.  Some will be EVs and other will be plug-in hybrids.

But, global charging station and power grid infrastructure needs to adapt to the growing number of electric vehicles and consumers must also want to buy an EV.

“This is more than building electric vehicles,” Reuss told Bloomberg. “You can’t just flip a switch and make the world go electric.”

Along with electric vehicles, GM is developing a large truck concept that will use a fuel cell to generate electricity on board and power two electric motors.

The platform is known as Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) and could be used to build delivery vehicles or ambulances.  The US military has been working with GM on its fuel cell platform, which is jointly owned with Honda Motor Co.

Ford and GM will face stiff competition from other automakers around the globe.  Almost 50 new pure electric vehicle models are scheduled to debut between now and 2022, including vehicles from Daimler AG, Volvo and Volkswagen AG.  Last week, James Dyson, known for manufacturing vacuums and fans, said his company will develop an EV.

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