Shifting its focus from a new electric car driven by traditional buyers to hybrids driven by no one at all, Ford is announcing new plans for what it says is the future of its business.
Answering a challenge from GM which last week announced plans to have autonomous vehicles on the road by 2019, Ford is detailing plans for its own all-new AV which will be built at a plant in Michigan.
Ford is scrapping plans to make an electric vehicle at that same Flat Rock, Michigan plant to focus instead on the driverless vehicle which sources tell Fox Business will be “designed from the ground up” with ride hailing and delivery partners like Lyft and Domino’s Pizza.
Unlike GM which is planning to go into the ride hailing business on its own, Ford is designing its vehicle with input from those already in the ride hailing space and will deploy the new vehicle in fleets primarily in large cities.
Fox Business has learned the new vehicle will be a hybrid-electric, allowing for what Ford says will be “maximum up-time” and durability rated at 2 1/2 times current retail vehicles.
It would enable the vehicles to be in constant use.
Though the target for production of the new AV will be 2021, that is two years behind rival GM’s planned rollout.
Ford earlier announced plans for a new Battery Electric Vehicle as well as the AV at the Flat Rock plant with an investment of $700M and 700 new jobs.
Ford will now move production of the electric car from Michigan to Mexico. But a Ford source tells FBN the increased focus on the AV will now result in $900M of investment and an extra 150 new jobs beyond the previously announced 700.