Following the conclusion of a collaboration with Toyota (earlier post), Ford is moving forward with the development of a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system on its own; the company says that it will have the hybrid system ready “later this decade” on rear-wheel-drive Ford pickups and SUVs. The new hybrid system will be based on an all-new architecture.
In August 2011, Ford and Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the joint development of a new rear-wheel drive hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs. (Earlier post.) Following the completion of their feasibility study for collaboration, the two companies agreed to develop hybrid systems individually. Ford has been rapidly gaining share in the hybrid market in the US; Ford’s share of the US electrified vehicle market has grown to nearly 16% in the first half of 2013—a 12-point gain over last year.
Ford set a record for hybrid sales in 2Q 2013, with sales of 24,217 vehicles—up 517% over last year and up 15% over 1Q 2013. It also marked the first time Ford sold more than 24,000 hybrids in a quarter.
We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids, and we now will build and leverage that expertise in-house. By continuing to develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system on our own, we can extend our advanced hybrid technologies to new vehicle segments and deliver even better fuel economy across our lineup.—Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development
Fueling the growth is increasing demand for Ford C-MAX and Ford Fusion hybrid vehicles in California and other new hybrid markets. Demand also increased more than 1,000% in New York. Chicago saw an 840% gain, while Ford hybrid sales rose almost 730% in Seattle and close to 500% in Washington, DC. More than 60% of US customers are coming from non-Ford brands, with Toyota and Honda vehicles the top competitive trade-ins, Ford said.
Our newest hybrids are contributing to Ford’s growth and share gains, while bringing new customers into the showroom in nontraditional hybrid markets.—Jim Farley, executive vice president, global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln
From January through June 2013, Ford sold 46,197 electrified vehicles—45,297 hybrids and 900 Focus Electric BEVs.
|Ford hybrid and EV sales, Jan-Jun 2013. Data: Ford. Click to enlarge.|
To meet increasing demand for hybrids, Ford is hiring more than 200 new electrification engineers and expanding its research facilities to speed development of hybrid and electrified vehicles. Ford also continues to bring in-house more of the development of its most advanced vehicles. This includes the design and engineering of transmissions, batteries and control systems, along with work on the rear-wheel-drive hybrid system.
Within the last year, Ford has invested more than $355 million to design, engineer and manufacture key components for its electrified vehicle lineup.
An additional $50 million investment in research and development facilities will double Ford’s electrification battery-testing capabilities, helping to speed electrified vehicle development by as much as 25%.
While collaboration on the rear-wheel-drive hybrid has concluded, Ford and Toyota will continue to work together on development of next-generation standards for in-car telematics, back-end support systems for call centers and Internet-based services—all designed to bring more Internet-based information to consumers globally.