Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use.
Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly.
"Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation.
Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)