Ford to invest $4.5 billion on electric cars by 2020

Ford Motor Co. said it will invest $4.5 billion in electric vehicles research. It is Ford's biggest investment in electric vehicle technology over a five-year period.

The company plans to add 13 new electric vehicles to its lineup by 2020, to give buyers more choices and to conform to strict federal fuel efficiency standards. The automakers will face federal efficiency standards of 54.5 miles per gallon fleetwide by 2025. It is nearly twice the standards of 2012.

Ford's CEO Mark Fields said that new electric vehicles will raise to 40 percent of its lineup by 2020 from 13 percent now, according to Bloomberg.

It will include a new generation of Ford Focus Electric, the Ford's first car with fast charge capability.

The 2017 Ford Focus Electric will start going into production at the end of 2016, according to Fortune. Its new generation will have a battery with 100-mile range capacity and will also be able to charge to 80% in only 30 minutes.

The charging time is about two hours faster than the current model Focus Electric.

The automaker has already started to expand its electric vehicles research and development in Europe and Asia to improve its battery technology. The company has been expanding its Electrified Powertrain Engineering program in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford said that it is hiring an additional 120 engineers for the program, including researchers from China, England, and Germany.

Earlier in October, the company invested $9 million for battery development programs in the laboratories of the University of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Ford has also started to make its battery technology to be easily accepted in Asia market including China, Taiwan, and Korea.

According to Detroit News, the company recently expanded electric vehicle offerings in Taiwan and Korea, where it sells Mondeo hybrid. Ford also plans to bring the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and the Mondeo hybrid to China market.

Ford's product development chief Raj Nair said electric vehicles sales will be hard as fuel prices stay low. Nair said that the company has got a lot do to inform and educate the customer about the advantages of not just the battery electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrids in particular and hybrids.

As the electric vehicles sales remain slow, earlier this year Ford reduced the Focus and C-Max hybrids production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. The company will likely move the production of its two models to Mexico by 2018.

In addition to its electric vehicles development programs, Ford also plans to develop ride-hailing services that could compete with Uber of Lyft. Ford's vice president of research Ken Washington said that the ride-hailing services is a business that company wants to be in.

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