Ford announced yesterday a massive investment for electric and hybrid vehicles. Mark Fields, CEO of Ford says the company plans on spending $4.5 billion by 2020 to bring out 13 electric and hybrid models, increasing the current percentage of electric and hybrid models from 13 to 40 percent.
Now this announcement comes at an interesting time as sales of electric and hybrid vehicles are dropping due to low gas prices. According to Autodata Corp, sales of Ford's hybrids through November dropped 25 percent to 59,301 vehicles. The Nissan Leaf saw sales drop 41 percent through November.
“Certainly, the gas prices that we’re seeing right now don’t help the electric-vehicle sales. We’ve got a lot to do to inform and educate the customer about the advantages of not just the battery-electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrids in particular and hybrids,” said Raj Nair, Ford's product development chief.
But Ford is looking to the future with this investment as stricter emission standards are coming.
“We’re going to see more and more companies invest in electrified vehicles because at the moment there’s some very stringent 2025 emission standards. The way to get there is using electrification. It’s a significant investment, but it’s the way the industry is moving forward,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.com.