Archives – January 13, 2017

Ford’s Big Bet on Electric Cars as It Invests in the U.S. Plant

2016_A&M–Commerce_Homecoming_Parade_03_(Pres._Emer._Keith_McFarland_and_Nancy)The first few days of 2017 have been significant to Ford Motor Co. A lot of attention has particularly been geared towards the company’s move to opt against setting up a Mexico manufacturing plant worth more than a billion dollars. Instead, Ford plans to invest about $700 million in its Michigan plant, which will help in creating jobs for 700 Americans. Though it might seem that the decision was prompted by some high-profile individuals, this is not the case. The reason behind the change of plans is Ford’s independent analysis of the company’s business imperatives.

However, it would also be essential to consider other news related to Ford. Earlier in the week, Ford gave details concerning its increasing commitment to producing electric cars. It particularly emphasized expanding its offerings in the coming years. One of the notable moves is the automaker’s plan to produce a small electric SUV. This SUV will have an approximate range of about 300 miles. This information concerning the car was obtained from a press release issued by the company. The designing of the new SUV will take place from the ground up, contrary to utilizing an existing car platform. Ford’s electric vehicle champion and Purchasing Vice President, Hau Thai-Tang, gave information on the automaker’s new approach through a telephone interview.

Thai-Tang explained that this was the very first time that the automaker had optimized a full-battery electric car’s architecture. This would give the company the opportunity to give consumers the full merits of an electric car. The benefits will be in terms of the car’s engineering configuration and the vehicle packaging. It will also provide occupants with an optimized experience. In addition to developing a fully electric SUV, Ford also plans to launch a number of hybrid electric cars in by the year 2022. These cars will help in showcasing the clear advantages of electrification, which go beyond fuel-efficiency merits.

Three iconic sub-brands will specifically receive the hybrid treatment. Hybrid versions will be added to both F-150 pickup truck and Mustang lines. A plug-in hybrid will be incorporated into the company’s commercial car sector. In Mustang’s case, the addition of the hybrid technology is expected to help the company in showcasing both the low-end torque and performance. For the hybrid F-150, capability will be showcased and the Transit’s role will be enhancing productivity. Productivity, capability and performance are the attributes that define the major benefits of electrification other than fuel efficiency.

Leave a Comment January 13, 2017

The Next Leaf Confirmed at CES by Nissan’s CEO

'16_Nissan_Leaf_(MIAS_'16)According to a statement made by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, a second-generation Nissan Leaf is set to be produced in the next few years. He however, did not give additional information about the date, driving range or model year. Nissan managed to develop a lithium-ion battery of 60-kWh as per the suggestions made during 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show regarding the concept vehicle reveal. In January 2015, Ghosn further stated that the automaker was developing a battery with a range of 200 miles. Recently, a Renault electric vehicle, ZOE, was introduced and stated to have a 186 mile range.

Shortly before Ghosn’s speech, Nissan’s Vice-President of Advanced Engineering and Research, Takao Asami said told reporters that the next Nissan Leaf would have a range of more than 200 miles. He further added that the automaker had the plans of introducing a charge rate of 150 kilowatts. Asami noted that Nissan was considering developing batteries of different sizes and different driving ranges for North America, Europe and Asia. The keynote address by Ghosn revolved around the upcoming connected and autonomous vehicle technology. The model is set to have the ProPilot technology that enables the functionality of an autonomous drive for highway driving. For the connected vehicles, Ghosn said that NASA introduced the artificial intelligent technology that is currently referred to as Seamless Autonomous Mobility.

The technology in question plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between the roads populated by human drivers and those filled with autonomous traffic. Ghosn also noted that Nissan has diverse types of electrified technology that includes a series hybrid, the e-Power. The power required by the e-Note’s wheels is provided by an electric motor, which generates electricity from a battery pack. A gasoline engine is used for charging the battery pack. Hence, the car’s fuel economy is comparable to that of hybrid vehicles, though the driving is similar to that of electric cars. The big question is regarding the exact date that the new Nissan Leaf is set to be revealed to the general public. Reports indicate that this new vehicle may be available as early as this coming week. Consumers may get the opportunity to see the car for the very first time during Detroit’s auto show. Alternatively, the waiting period may extend till Tokyo’s Motor show that is scheduled for October. Regardless of this uncertainty regarding the actual release date, the full details of the car should be expected any time from now.

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