Ford is finally jumping into the electric vehicle industry, but as of right now, it's set to begin exclusively in China. The car manufacturer announced they’ll be bringing out fully electric cars just months after a new CEO has taken over and replaced the leadership in the EV division. This means that Ford now joins the many companies that are quickly trying to meet the lofty zero-emission demands that China has set in the upcoming years.
In a joint partnership with Anhui Zotye Automobile Company, Ford will be bringing out new electric vehicles under a new brand. Both Ford and Zotye Auto would be splitting the stake evenly in the joint venture. According to Ford’s press release, a final agreement hasn’t been reached, but more information about the new cars would come out after regulation standards are met. In the meantime, they’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
“The potential to launch a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is an exciting next step for Ford in China,” said Peter Fleet, President of Ford Asia Pacific. “Electric vehicles will be a big part of the future in China and Ford wants to lead in delivering great solutions to customers.”
Jim Hackett took over as CEO of Ford back in May, replacing Mark Field. Jim Farley has taken over as an executive vice president and is in control of Global Markets and the electric vehicle division. With this shakeup, it looks like the ball is starting to roll on the electrification process.
The Michigan-based car manufacturer has been slower than others to pull the trigger on electric vehicle production. They remain skeptical on how government regulations could impact its future, along with the hype carrying over to EVs being the new household standard. However, they do have to keep up with China’s emission mandates.
By 2018, eight percent of new car sales for each manufacturer must meet zero-emission standards. Four percent more is needed by 2020, and a whopping 25 percent of the sales need to be electric vehicles by 2025. Zoyte Auto is expected to speed up the process for Ford, who is one of the major suppliers of fully electric small vehicles in China. Based on the press release, they’ve sold over 16,000 units this year alone and has grown over 50 percent year-over-year.
Ford announced two electric vehicles for China back in April, the Mondero Energi plug-in hybrid and an undisclosed fully electric SUV that features a range of nearly 280 miles. They’re working with another joint venture in Changan Ford, and by 2025, 70 percent of their sales will be electrified cars.
China’s ambitious goals are due to the smog that’s contaminating urban areas, and that has already led to a growth of compact electric vehicles. Many other car manufacturers, such as Tesla and General Motors, have made plans to meet expectations. Only Tesla hasn’t attempted to slow down the process, but considering the needs China requires to purify the air, it’s understandable why they’re looking toward a clean future as fast as possible.