Ford’s Electrification Manager Discusses Automakers $4.5 Billion Electrified Vehicle Investment Plans

1 year ago by Steven Loveday 14

Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

Ford’s Electrification Manager, Kevin Layden, says the automaker is planning to spend $4.5 billion for the next round of electrified vehicles, despite current obstacles like low gas prices, reduced sale volumes, and stiff competition.

Ford's Kevin Layden

Ford’s Kevin Layden

Layden is 53 and has been with Ford for 30 years. His primary focus for the company has always been on efficiency. His family drives only plug-in vehicles. Layden is confident that electrified vehicles will continue to see vast improvements.

Automotive News journalist Richard Truett interviewed Layden, and came away saying:

“Kevin Layden is a cheerful, easygoing guy who, outwardly at least, seems impervious to the high pressures of his job: managing Ford’s hybrid and electrification efforts. If the stress gets to him, he doesn’t show it.”

Layden said that it’s not difficult for him to stay positive about EVs even with low fuel prices. He points out that it’s not just about gas prices and increased SUV buying trends. He explained:

“With [plug-in hybrid electric vehicles], we’re selling better economics as well as features. People are buying because they can go 10 weeks without going to the gas station. That means less time standing in the cold or rain. The features, the reliability, the excellent driving experience and the economics are continuing to build. More to come on all of these fronts.”

He confirmed that as part of the spending, Ford will release 13 new EVs by 2020. Efforts will be made to cut battery costs and a next-gen Powersplit transmission will come into play. Also, Layden promised that by the end of the decade, Ford will offer an electric, full-size SUV and/or truck.

Although GM and BMW have found success using a range extender, Layden is not sold on the concept. He said:

“We’re very comfortable with the efficiency of the Powersplit transmission as a PHEV choice. The overall efficiency can’t be matched by a range extender. You can look at some of our key competitors, such as GM, who have increased the size of their engines and gone to a powersplit configuration to try to close the gap with Ford on attributes including fuel economy.”

In terms of the Focus Electric, Layden shared that the company has learned quite a bit. Customers are happy with the drive of the electric vehicle and find charging to be simple. But, for the future model, the keys are of course more range and DC charging. Next year’s Focus Electric will meet both criteria, with range at 100 miles.

Source: Autonews

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14 responses to "Ford’s Electrification Manager Discusses Automakers $4.5 Billion Electrified Vehicle Investment Plans"

  1. David Murray says:

    The term “range extender” is sort of a blurry line with no real definition to the term. Obviously GM does use the term with the Volt. But from a standpoint of being different from Ford’s approach in principle, it isn’t.

    That term doesn’t sit well with me for Ford’s PHEVs simply because the engine is required for full power operation and for a lot of trips due to the size of the battery. But the implementation of the powersplit device isn’t all that different (unlike BMW’s i3 Rex)

    But it sounds to me (reading that statement) like Ford has little interest in putting a larger battery in their PHEVs to make them more competitive with the Volt.

    I suspect the Prius Prime will eat the lunch of the C-Max Energi. The Fusion Energi is enough different that it probably won’t be affected.

  2. Jychevyvolt says:

    Who needs Musk, when you have a visionary leader like Kevin Layden.

    1. ffbj says:

      Good One! LOL.

  3. Miggy says:

    Ford’s US$4.5 Billion makes Tesla’s US$2 Billion for the Model 3 look like good value for money.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      That $4.5 billion is for 13 vehicles, not one. That doesn’t make $2 billion look like a good value at all.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        It is for more than one car. Yes, it is primarily for the Model 3 right now. But it will also help with Model S and Model X (they are still improving those lines) and it will be big for the Model Y that is presumably a CUV version of the Model 3.

    2. arne-nl says:

      Apples and oranges.

      The 4.5 billion is for developing electrification technology.

      The 2 billion is mostly for building a production line.

  4. Wile the conversation listed sounds like ‘EV’, they are thinking ‘Electrified’ and adding a Plug, because they love their Gas Engines, and it hearts the to sell a vehicle without one!

    As to the Ford Focus Electric- getting (Finally) 100 Miles AER, Plus DC QC capabilities, it seems still short of the LEAF, but, if they can hide the battery from the trunk space this time, they could pick up some of their missing sales, caused by that visible battery in trunk situation of current models.

    Still no public presentation from Ford, as well, on public CCS expansion investment!

    O well, maybe next year!

    1. Typo correction, and expansion: While the conversation listed sounds like ‘EV’, they are secretly thinking ‘Electrified’ and adding a Plug, because they love their Gas Engines, and it hurts them to sell a vehicle without one, plus the big batteries for BEV’s don’t fit their ICE driven body designs!

      1. Jychevyvolt says:

        So Kevin bought a $200k model X so his family could drive a real electric car?

  5. Texas FFE says:

    You guys have no right to be so down on Ford . Ford is still one of top sellers of plug in vehicles. Ford wants to sell cars that people want to buy and at the same time move electrification forward.

    If Ford can move electrification and plugins forward, especially with SUVs and light trucks, Ford might be able to do a lot more good than a handful of low volume zero emission vehicles. Ford sells 10 million vehicles a year. If just a quarter of those are plugins then that’s 2.5 plugins sold a year. Considering that only a little more than 1 million plugins have been sold to date around the world, Ford could make a significant impact in reducing oil consumption and air pollution with infusion of $4.5 billion into electrification.

  6. shane says:

    Thanks texas ffe. I get tired of always hearing critism of good steps, just because they aren’t the perfect step the commenter wanted. I think toyota’s prius has still done more total good,then many of the ‘ideal’ low volume solutions – especially since it helped i introduce large sections of the population to electric drive.

  7. Rick Bronson says:

    The recent news from Ford are.
    Fusion Plugin-2017 with 2 mile extra range and a $780 price cut.
    Focus Electric-2017 with 24 mile extra range (now being 100 miles).

    But will they say how much will the new Focus electric cost. If they increase the price, then people will simply move to Leaf/Volt.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      They are also adding CCS to the Focus Electric . . . that is a very nice improvement that was really needed. Fiat needs to do that for the Fiat 500e.