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Ford pledges $4.5B over 5 years to electric vehicle program

Ford Motor Co. has announced it will invest $4.5 billion US in electrified vehicles in the next five years with plans to add 13 new electric vehicles by 2020.
Ford made its most ambitious commitment to date on electric vehicles, promising 13 models by 2020. (Bill Sikes/Associated Press)

Ford Motor Co. has announced it will invest $4.5 billion US in electrified vehicles in the next five years with plans to add 13 new electric vehicles by 2020.

It has pledged that 40 per cent of its nameplates will come in electrified versions by then, in response to "global trends calling for cleaner, more efficient vehicles."

Next year it will release the new Focus Electric which it projects will have a 160-kilometre range. It will have a fast-charge function that will deliver an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes, answering one of the limitations of electric cars, which is the long time needed to recharge them.

CEO Mark Fields said the company sees plug-in hybrid systems — which allow drivers to operate part of the time on batteries recharged from the grid, and part of the time on gasoline — as the solution many customers will prefer. 

Toyota has already made a long-term commitment to greener cars, saying it wants to eliminate gas engines by 2050 using hybrids and fuel cells.

The automakers are anticipating tightened emissions rules in the wake of the Paris Climate Summit.

But electric cars are bucking the current trend in auto sales, which is increased demand for cross-over vehicles and pickup trucks.

With files from Reuters

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