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Ford Predicts Increase in EV Sales

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author photo by Nick Chambers October 2011

With global environmental regulations becoming increasingly more stringent and consumers now counting fuel economy as one of the most important car purchase considerations, all of the world's automakers are locked in a race to increase mileage and decrease emissions.

Since 2006, Ford has been outspoken about fuel economy and sustainability and has been furiously overhauling its lineup to meet today's greener expectations. In fact, 41% of all F-150 sales are now of the EcoBoost variety. Ford has also invested heavily in electrifying many of its global platforms.

Looking at current sales of Ford hybrids, all that investment may seem poorly placed but according to one of the company's top electrification executives, that's all about to change.

"Today hybrids make up around 1% of our sales volume," said Sherif Marakby, Ford's Director of Electrification and Sustainable Mobility Programs, in an interview with AutoTrader.com. "Starting next year we are going to more than double our capacity for electrified vehicles and by 2015 we expect them to make up between 2% and 5% of sales."

Doubling capacity in one year is a huge step, but even then Ford doesn't expect to see major consumer preference changes until the end of the decade. By mid-decade more than 90% of total electrified vehicle sales will continue to be of the conventional hybrid variety including familiar models such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid as well as new models such as the five-passenger 2013 C-Max Hybrid "multi activity vehicle."

By 2020 Ford sees the landscape starting to change dramatically, with as much as 25% of the company's sales attributed to electrified vehicles. However, at that time Marakby predicts that pure electric cars will still make up a small portion of those sales, at about 5% of total electrified vehicle sales.

Marakby sees the biggest shift at the end of the decade happening in acceptance of plug-in hybrids, such as the upcoming C-Max Energi, which he predicts will make up 25% of all electrified vehicle sales. Even so, he says conventional hybrids will account for the lion's share, at around 70% of electrified vehicle sales.

"While all-electric cars are certainly exciting to engineer and have generated a lot of buzz, our view is still that hybrids will generate the biggest piece of the sales pie into the near future, followed by plug-in hybrids, followed by pure electric cars," said Marakby. "Hybrids and plug-in hybrids can be your only vehicle and can fit the changing and dynamic demands of daily family life. Battery electric vehicles are clearly practical for many people, but they won't fit all lifestyles for some time."

Even with all these predictions, Marakby stressed that many factors can effect actual consumer preference and that Ford is ready to meet whatever demand there may be for the various technologies. "Our plug-in hybrid system is just a variant of our hybrid system and a large portion of the components overlap," he said. "Because of this we can flex our production lines to increase or decrease the ratio of the different types of vehicles coming off the line."

What it means to you: New car shoppers will soon have more choices when it comes to electric or hybrid powered vehicles.

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Ford Predicts Increase in EV Sales - Autotrader