Ford readies more electric lineup for 2020 and announces advanced standard driver-assist technologies
Ford announced that by 2020, its average showroom age will drop from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup. By 2020, Ford plans a lineup of eight SUVs—five of which will offer hybrid powertrains and one battery electric. Next-gen hybrid electric vehicle models will include the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape, and Bronco.
Ford said itsF-150 Hybrid will emphasize capability, such as the low-end torque for extra pulling power and the fact it can serve as a mobile generator. The Mustang Hybrid will be all about delivering V8-like performance with more low-end torque, according to the company.
The company added that its new hybrid system is designed to be more efficient and less expensive than previous generations. These lower costs are achieved through supply base relationships—using common cell and component design and by manufacturing motors, transmissions, and battery packs—with the intention of lowering cost of ownership for customers.
Ford added that its strategy for battery electric vehicles (BEV) includes rethinking the ownership experience so it is more seamless than with today’s gas-powered vehicles. That means making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features.
“Throwing a charger in the trunk of a vehicle and sending customers on their way isn’t enough to help promote the viability of electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, Vice President, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles. “In addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that currently hold back broad adoption today.”
The company said that its BEV manufacturing plan will be more efficient. The company will reportedly halve floor space for final assembly operations and reduce capital investment by 50%. A projected 30% improvement in labor efficiency will allow Ford to redeploy employees to do other jobs, including assembly of battery packs (which are normally expensive and complex to ship).
The new performance battery electric utility arrives in 2020. Ford said it's the first of six electric vehicles coming by 2022 as part of the company’s $11 billion global electric vehicle investment.
For its commercial vehicles, Ford said it plans to debut a new Transit with 4G LTE connectivity in 2019 and offer automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver alert system and more on future E-Series, F-650, F-750, and F59 chassis products.
Ford said that it five flexible vehicle architectures—body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody and BEV—are paired with module “families” that address the power pack, electrical pack, and vehicle configurations. Seventy percent of each vehicle’s engineering will reportedly be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30% of content—including grilles, hoods, doors, and more—customized for each vehicle.
For instance, as more vehicles become connected, new analytics tools will show which vehicle technologies customers use most often. This new data-driven insight will help determine which features to grow and invest in and which to eliminate, reducing manufacturing complexity, improving pricing, reducing incentives, and building revenue over time.
The company said that new manufacturing tools and technologies including increased use of augmented and virtual reality are helping reduce Ford’s plant changeover time by an estimated 25%, which adds an average $50 million to the company’s bottom line per changeover.
Another key announcement from the company is the Ford Co-Pilot360 advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies. Ford Co-Pilot360 includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup camera, and auto high beam lighting. The Ford Co-Pilot360 will roll out across Ford’s new passenger cars, SUVs, and trucks up to F-150 in North America, starting on the new 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST this fall.
“Though our vehicles today are safer than ever, drivers tell us they are still stressed about getting in a potential accident,” said Jim Farley, Ford President, Global Markets. “That’s one reason why we’re making these must-have technologies accessible to millions of customers each year.”
The Ford Co-Pilot360 starts with standard automatic emergency braking—called pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection—that can help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians who might accidentally cross in front of the vehicle’s path. If a potential collision is detected, a warning flashes and an alert sounds, and if the driver’s response is not sufficient, the system can automatically apply the brakes to help minimize a frontal collision. The technology will be standard on 91% of Ford vehicles in North America by 2020.
The blind spot information system, or BLIS, uses radar to identify a vehicle entering the blind spot and alerts the driver with an indicator light in the side-view mirror. Cross-traffic alert can warn drivers of traffic behind when slowly backing out of a parking spot or driveway.
The lane keeping system has three functions:
- The first can notify drivers through steering wheel vibration that they need to correct course when the system detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings.
- The second provides steering torque to steer back toward the center of the lane.
- Third, a driver alert system, continuously monitors driving pattern using a forward-looking camera and provides visual and audio warnings when the system estimates the driver’s vigilance level to be less than that of an attentive driver.
By 2020, the company's commercial E-Series, F-650, -750, and the F59 chassis will come with available features including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and driver alert system.