Ford is betting aggressively on electric cars over the next five years. According to a Friday press release, Ford will invest $4.5 billion into electric vehicle technology and plans to add 13 new electric models to its lineup by 2020.
"More than 40 percent of Ford’s nameplates globally will be electrified by the decade’s end," announced Ford in a press statement. The company also claims that its future lineup will be heavily influenced by social insights in order to create products that move away from a features-based mentality to a more user-experience-centric philosophy.
The first new model from Ford under its new strategy will be the 2017 Ford Focus Electric. A slew of innovative features starts with the DC fast-charger, which will charge the Focus Electric up to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes for a 100-mile range. Focus Electric owners to drive their EV frugally with its Brake Coach feature, which is displayed on what Ford calls the “SmartGauge with EcoGuide LCD Instrument Cluster.” Brake Coach can train the driver to brake in a way that makes full use of the drivetrain's energy capturing potential.
As global trends and emission regulations continue to demand cleaner, more efficient vehicles, Ford's decision to shift its focus to all-electric solutions over the next five years is a no-brainer. However, the Dearborn automaker will also invest in social science-based research, collected globally. The data should help Ford to recognize various trends, ranging from cultural to economic factors, that affect what constitutes as the best product design.
“This new way of working brings together marketing, research, engineering and design in a new way to create meaningful user experiences, rather than individually developing technologies and features that need to be integrated into a final product,” said Ford Executive Vice President of Product Development Raj Nair. “We are using new insights from anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists and designers, along with traditional business techniques, to reimagine our product development process, create new experiences and make life better for millions of people.”