It won’t be your father’s Mustang — or your cousin’s F-150 — but Ford plans to make hybrid versions of both icons. In a joint press conference with union workers and officials, Ford CEO Mark Fields laid out his company’s electric vehicle strategy for the coming years. Besides the electrification of the original pony car and America’s best-selling truck, U.S. consumers will also get a fully electric SUV with 300 miles of range by 2021.
Altogether, Fields announced the company’s plans to electrify seven different models in the next four years. Ford will turn out a fully autonomous Fusion hybrid, two pursuit-rated hybrid police cars, and a plug-in hybrid Transit van. But the headlines belong to F-150 and Mustang, which break ground in their respective classes.
Since we heard Ford was testing a hybrid F-150 back in 2014, this model comes as less of a surprise. Electric power will boost low-end torque and maintain (or extend) payload and towing capacity. Meanwhile, the hybrid pickup battery could serve as a mobile generator, Ford said. Naturally, we expect F-150 class-leading fuel economy to further improve.
Consumers in the U.S. and Middle East will see the hybrid F-150 by 2020. An electrified Mustang will join the fold around the same time.
Ford will use electric power to give Mustang a boost as well. According to the company statement, the V8 (5.0) model will be the target for a hybrid drivetrain. We have seen Porsche and other high-end sports car makers use plug-in power to boost performance, so it doesn’t come as a total surprise. However, the idea of a hybrid Mustang seemed insane to many just a few years ago. (Even the four-cylinder Ecoboost model ruffled its share of feathers.)
Current plans set the release date at 2020. Only North American drivers will have access to this model, Ford says, and Flat Rock (Mich.) Assembly Plant workers will build it. In fact, the announcement took place at Flat Rock, and it came with word Ford was canceling plans to build a factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Fields, along with UAW chief Jimmy Settles, told an enthusiastic crowd of UAW members Ford was investing $700 million back into Flat Rock. Some 700 new jobs would be created to handle the workload, which Fields said equates to another seven jobs for every employee added to a Michigan auto factory. Settles agreed, saying it was like adding another Ford plant for his union’s Midwest members.
Other major announcements included a pilot program for wireless electric vehicle charging, support for the European EV charging network, and confirmation on the site of production for the next-generation Ford Focus. That one will go to Hermosillo, the Mexican plant where Ford has made the Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for several years now. The plant opened in 1986 and remains an important hub for the company’s small car production.
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