Ford unveils electrification plans and new mini SUV
4 April 2019
Ford has unveiled its electrification plans and launched a new mini SUV as it looks to rebuild its European operations and stem losses.
At a special event in Amsterdam, the company launched a range of models under the ‘Ford Hybrid’ banner, with mild hybrid, full electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains. A total of 16 electrified models will be available to customers across Ford’s passenger car and commercial vehicle offerings.
The event saw the unveiling of the next-generation Kuga, designed with swept-back headlights and a less-harsh, but still wide grille. The new model continues Ford’s current design ethic of friendliness yet strong with a mix of curves and angles, and could almost be mistaken for a larger version of the popular Focus. The Kuga will be the first range to feature a PHEV, Ford’s most electrified vehicle ever, the company stated.
Ford also revealed the new Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid and Focus EcoBoost Hybrid models that feature sophisticated mild-hybrid technology for reduced CO2 emissions, optimised fuel-efficiency and more responsive and rewarding driving experiences.
In addition, Ford announced that a new all-electric Transit is joining the company’s line-up of electrified commercial vehicles in 2021. Designed to deliver pure-electric propulsion, the new van will contribute to cleaner, quieter towns and cities, and reduced running costs for business and operators.
Ford’s Mustang-inspired all-electric performance SUV will arrive in 2020, with a pure-electric driving range of more than 370 miles calculated using WLTP. This model will also be equipped with fast-charging capacity.
‘Forward-looking, technologically advanced and using a wide range of electrified solutions to suit the different needs of different consumers, our new Ford Hybrid vehicles will make electrification relevant and affordable for more drivers than ever before,’ said Stuart Rowley, President, Ford of Europe. ‘The models introduced today are just the start of our plans to develop a comprehensive line-up of smart vehicles for a smart world. From Fiesta to Transit, every new vehicle that we introduce will feature an electrified version that best suits the needs and pockets of our customers across Europe.’
Ford said it is committed to being a leader in providing customers with a broad choice of electrified vehicles with easy access to charging and supporting them with enhanced connectivity and related mobility services.
Earlier this year, the carmaker announced that every one of the company’s nameplates launched from the all-new Focus onwards would include an electrified option. This includes new nameplates and new versions of existing vehicles.
Ford's future all-electric vehicles will deliver next-generation connectivity for over-the-air updates and the company is in the advanced stages of setting up charging solutions for its electric-vehicle customers. Ford is a founder member of the Ionity consortium that aims to build 400 fast-charging stations in key European locations by 2020, with a charging capacity of 350 kW. This enables a significant reduction in charge times compared to existing systems.
Ford will also partner with NewMotion to provide a one-stop-shop for charging, using NewMotion's charging network that covers more than 100,000 charging points in 28 countries across Europe. Ford has also commissioned its own smart wall-box solution and will join with major energy companies to give customers access to specialist electric-vehicle tariffs and installation services.
The carmaker also used the event to unveil first images of its new mini-SUV and confirmed that the Puma name would be returning to the model line-up for the first time since 2002.
The car will go on sale at the end of the year and will add another SUV option for the company. The first image of the Ford Puma reveals significant styling cues including distinctive wing-top mounted headlamps and athletic, seductive, aerodynamic lines, alongside compact crossover proportions that support raised ride-height for a confidence-enhancing driving experience.
Ford is expected to concentrate on popular and SUV models as it changes its line-up following a number of tough trading years. SUVs now account for more than one in five Ford vehicles sold in Europe, and sales rose more than 19% in 2018.
The C-Max will be dropped, with other model cuts expected to be announced during the year. Ford is also shedding 5,000 jobs in Germany and some positions in the UK. The company has also pulled out of the passenger car market in Russia, instead concentrating on commercial vehicle sales in the country.