Ford Motor will boost its investment in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022, said chairman Bill Ford at the Detroit Auto Show today. This is a huge increase from the $4.5 billion by 2020 the automaker announced in December 2015 that it planned to invest.
Since then, however, Ford has becoming increasingly focused on electric and smart vehicles. Last May, it replaced chief executive officer Mark Fields with Jim Hackett, who was previously in charge of its self-driving car subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility. The leadership shakeup came after shares of Tesla passed Ford in market capitalization, positioning the Model S maker as the second-largest auto company in the U.S. after General Motors.
Chairman Ford also says the company plans to have 40 electric vehicles in its model lineup by 2022, with 16 fully electric vehicles and the rest plug-in hybrids.
“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles and we’re electrifying them. If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular,” Ford told reporters, according to Reuters.
Ford Motors will also begin testing its self-driving network this quarter in a city that hasn’t been announced yet. The program will use data from Ford’s delivery partnership with Domino’s Pizza and include a new partnership with on-demand delivery startup Postmates.
Big automakers—including GM, Toyota, the VW Group and Daimler—have all launched major electric vehicle initiatives in a bid to meet consumer demand and ward off competition from Tesla.
Another key reason is new regulations put into place by countries like China, India, France and the United Kingdom to reduce pollution from cars that use internal combustion engines and fossil fuels, which means automakers must have a solid lineup of electric vehicles to ensure the growth of their international businesses. Last year Ford announced a new joint venture with Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye Automobile specifically to build electric vehicles, as well as a “strategic collaboration” with Alibaba to build new online and digital sales channels.