Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How Ford Will Join the Electric-Car Revolution

By John Rosevear - Oct 2, 2017 at 7:46PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Ford's new CEO is setting the stage for a more aggressive push into fully-electric vehicles.

Ford Motor Company (F 0.25%) is gearing up for a bigger push into electric vehicles. It's setting up a new electric-vehicle team led by a veteran Ford executive, it said on Monday, and it will increase the number of fully electric vehicles it has in development.  

The news comes a day before Ford's new CEO, Jim Hackett, is expected to unveil his revamped strategy for the company in a presentation to Wall Street analysts. It's a clear hint as to where Hackett is likely to take Ford -- and another sign that the industrywide push toward electric vehicles might finally have hit a tipping point. 

A close-up of a Ford-branded recharging plug plugged into a Fusion Energi hybrid sedan. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Signs are growing that Ford is preparing a major electric-car development effort. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

What we know about Ford's new electric-vehicle push

Ford hasn't shared much in the way of details yet. Presumably, Hackett will go into more detail during his strategy presentation on Tuesday afternoon. But here's what we know.

Ford has created a new internal team, called Team Edison, to accelerate its development of electric vehicles for global markets. The team will be led by Ted Cannis, an up-and-coming Ford executive who ran the Blue Oval's Russia operation for several years. Cannis most recently led Ford's investor-relations team.

Team Edison's role is separate from Ford's other "electrification" initiatives, which have so far focused largely on hybrid vehicles. Ford will continue to develop hybrids, but Team Edison seems to be focused on pure battery-electric vehicles. 

Sherif Marakby, the ex-Uber engineer who leads Ford's electrification and self-driving projects, said in an interview with Automotive News that Ford now sees an "inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles." 

Marakby said Team Edison will be "cross-functional," handling everything from marketing to engineering to determining Ford's overall electric-vehicle strategy. The team will also explore electric-car-related partnerships with other automakers and suppliers, he said. 

Ford has previously said that it has a long-range electric vehicle in development, a compact crossover SUV with 300 miles of range that will go into production in Michigan by 2020. Markaby said Ford will add more pure battery-electric vehicles, but he gave no details.

What it means: A more aggressive future-tech push for Ford

Although Hackett, who took over as Ford's CEO in May, hasn't announced his strategy for the company, there have been several signs over the last couple of months that his plans include a greater emphasis on electric vehicles and self-driving technology. Most notably, Ford in August announced a new joint venture with Chinese automaker Anhui Zotye Automobile to produce a new line of electric vehicles in China. 

Hackett, who as CEO of Steelcase led that company through a high-tech transformation, initially came to Ford to run its future-mobility subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility LLC. Given his technology-savvy reputation, and given the growing signs that electric-vehicle development may be hitting a tipping point across the industry and around the world, a bolder move into electric vehicles by Ford now would be absolutely no surprise. 

Former CEO Mark Fields had begun moving Ford in that direction, but he was ousted for Hackett in part because of a sense that he wasn't moving quickly enough -- and that he hadn't clearly spelled out the profit opportunities for Ford that would result from its investments in new technologies. 

Given this latest development, I think it's clear that Ford shareholders can expect Hackett to address both issues in his presentation on Tuesday. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$12.04 (0.25%) $0.03
Steelcase Inc. Stock Quote
Steelcase Inc.
SCS
$11.32 (1.34%) $0.15

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
336%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/28/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.