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article imageMajor carmakers stake $90 billion on electric vehicles

By Tim Sandle     Jan 16, 2018 in Technology
The future, it appears, is electric, at least when it comes to motor vehicles. Developing technology to make electric cars more affordable and efficient is top of the agenda of the major car manufacturers.
Ford, for example, has announced plans to more than double its electrified vehicle spending. This money will be pushed into batteries, as the core improvement imitative, and into electric cars in general. It is estimated that by global automakers are investing over $90 billion in electric car technology. The estimated spend figure comes from analysis by Reuters.
With the $90 billion there are some regional differences. In third place, on expenditure, is the U.S. with $19 billion being invested by automakers; in second place at $21 billion is China; but in first place, by some distance, is Germany at $52 billion. With the U.S. figures by far the largest investment is being made by Ford, at $11 billion. This is seen as a direct challenge to Tesla.
Speaking at the recent Detroit Auto Show, Ford Chairman Bill Ford said: "We're all in on this and we're taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we're electrifying them", adding ""If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular."
The ambitious target that Ford has set itself is 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its range by 2022. These will be made up of 16 fully electric vehicles and 24 plug-in hybrids. This represents a significant shift in strategy, with Ford planning to shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.
The Ford announcement sidesteps General Motors. GM declared last year it plans to add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023. In addition, Volkswagen has a new strategy for electric and self-driving cars through to 2030.
In related news, a new British project sets out to double range of electric vehicle with the use of silicon batteries. This £10 million scheme is led by the startup Nexeon (see: "Project to double range of electric vehicles with new batteries").
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