Ford Announces $500 Million Investment Into Rivian to Use EV Skateboard Platform
General Motors was already in talks with Rivian, but it seems that agreement has fallen through and another American automotive giant, Ford, has secured a deal with the EV maker for use of its skateboard platform and the joint-development of a future Blue Oval EV. Ford will sink $500 million into Rivian as part of a much bigger investment in EVs, estimated at $11 billion that includes models like the all-electric Mustang-like crossover or the all-electric F-150 pickup.
In the world of supercars, carbon-fiber body panels are old news and now carbon-fiber tubs are the new rage. Within the average car-buyer’s reach, carbon fiber anything is just about out the window. Well, Ford may have something to say about that in the future.
Currently Ford is working with the folks at Hightech.NRW to develop a carbon-fiber body panel development process that could revolutionize the construction of every car on the road. See, the reason carbon fiber is so expensive is because it takes many labor hours to build even the smallest piece. What Ford is working on is developing pieces in just a fraction of the time it currently takes, starting with constructing a Ford Focus hood in less than 15 minutes.
The main goal of this project is to ultimately reduce the weight of these panels by about 50 percent in an effort to lift fuel economy. A cool side effect of this process could possibly be the use of these panels on more high-performance Ford products, like the Mustang GT and the Ford Focus ST.
Ford’s plan is to lower the weight of its cars by upwards of 340 kg (749 lbs) by 2020. This would take a car like the Focus ST and suddenly drop its curb weight to as low as 2,300 lbs. That would jump it to an impressive-for-its-class 9.12 pound per horsepower. To boot, it would sharply increase its already stout 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
Now, are there really 700-plus pounds of weight to be dropped from the Focus ST’s body? Likely not, but that gives us an idea of the benefits that this fuel-saving measure can have on us performance junkies. Ford does not plan on these panels being ready for use any time in the near future, but eventually they should be a part of Ford’s complete lineup. With the automotive world being a copycat-heavy realm, all of the other manufacturers will likely follow suit quickly.
Click past the jump to read Ford’s press release.
As the global recession rolls around the Earth, automakers everywhere are starting to hit their breaking points. There have already been talks of Ford and Chevy pulling out of Europe and recently, Ford announced that it was cutting 15 percent of job in Australia due to poor sales.
On the heels of that announcement comes a report from International Business Times that claims Ford is simply ramping up to end its Australia-based manufacturing altogether. The consensus is that Ford of Australia will cease production in the Outback by 2016.
Now, the Ford pull-out from Australia, much like the potential pull-out from Europe, does not mean there won’t be any Fords sold there. This simply means that the Australia-built fords, like the Territory and the fairly bad-ass Falcon sedan, will no longer exist. In their place will likely be imported Fusions and Explorers, maybe bearing different names.
Slow sales are not the only cause to Australia’s No. 3 automaker pulling out, the enactment of tough-to-meet Euro 5 emission standards are likely the straw that broke Ford’s back. Both the Falcon and Territory cannot meet these stringent regulations without expensive revisions to the driveline.
Ford has yet to make any announcement regarding its Outback exit, but it looks to be a certainty. We’ll update you if Ford finally announces this exit.
There are very few things in this world that include the word “Eco” in its name and still remain fun. Ford somehow managed to find a way to have its cake and eat it too – what a weird saying – with the EcoBoost engines. Not only are they more economical than the engines they replaced, but they, for the most part, are drastically more powerful.
For example, let’s look at the F-150. In 2011, Ford dropped the 5.4-liter V-8 and 4.6-liter V-8 from the F-150’s options list and replaced them with the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine. The 2011 EcoBoost engine pumped out 55 more horsepower than the 2010 5.4-liter and 73 to 117 horsepower more than the 4.6-liter V-8. Add in the fact that the 6-pot boosted engine also got 2 mpg city and 2 mpg highway better than the 5.4-liter, and 1 mpg and 2 mpg better than the 4.6-liter V-8, and you have a winner.
Well, this all added up to some impressive sales, even more impressive that Ford could have imagined. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford anticipates selling about 1.6 million EcoBoost engines in 2013, according to its current pace, which is 100,000 more units that its initial target was. Ford is seemingly always adding a new EcoBoost engine, with the 2.0-liter and 1.0-liter variant coming out this year and a 2.3-liter variant looking like a sure thing for 2015, so we see this number going nowhere but up in the coming years.
Ford definitely bet the farm on the EcoBoost engine in the F-150 to start with and much like it did in 1996 when it drastically restyled the F-150, it won back the farm and took the neighbor’s farm along with it. Our hats have to go off to Ford and its ability to think outside of the box and constantly give the customer what he wants. It’s no wonder Ford was one of the few Detroit automakers to survive without a government bailout.
Happy Earth Day!
On top of all the cars that automakers are turning out that replace the use of gas by some percentage, automakers are also trying to “green up” the way they make their cars. It’s not always just about the engine when building a car and we couldn’t think of a more appropriate day to highlight Ford’s efforts to use more bio-based materials in their attempt to “go greener”.
Currently, Ford’s vehicles are 85% recyclable by weight and Ford is trying to focus more on using recyclable and reusable materials with the hope that one day Ford’s vehicles can be 100% recyclable. They have been able to get one step closer to this goal by using soy and bio-based materials to produce cushions and seatbacks in 10 of their current models. The Ford Mustang, F-150, Focus, Flex, Escape, Expedition and Econoline as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln MKS, and Navigator all feature this earth-friendly material. The brand’s introduction of the 2011 Ford Taurus will now make 11 of these greenies.
"By increasing the use of recycled or renewable content and reducing the use of undesirable materials whenever possible, we’re helping to reduce waste to landfills by millions of pounds – and we’re doing it around the world," said John Viera, Ford’s director of Sustainability and Environmental Policy. "More than ever before, the spirit of ONE Ford that drives our global product strategy also drives our commitment to sustainability."
Hit the jump for the full story and press release.
The price for fuel, along with the concern for overuse of fuel and its effect on the environment, has been increasing dramatically over time. Evidence of this would be the growing trend that is the hybrid and electric automobiles, but, even with the technological advancement of these types of vehicle, the abolishment of gasoline-powered engines is far from becoming a reality. We believe this is the reason Ford has developed their MyFord Touch system with the ECO-Route option. The MyFord Touch system enables drivers to get better gas mileage by “coaching” them on their fuel economy performance and the Eco-Route option provides the most fuel efficient route a driver could take based on calculating historical and real-time traffic data in conjunction with the posted speed limits. Ford even adds a cute little picture of growing leaves and flowers to “promote” fuel efficient driving (really?). Yes, really, unfortunately that is what it takes to save money and the environment.
Hit the jump for the full story plus some fuel-saving tips.
For the first time in more than 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is changing the way it calculates fuel economy estimates — the city and highway miles-per-gallon calculations that are posted on the window stickers of new cars and trucks.
Ford Motor Company will begin producing the world’s first fleet of commercial hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine (H2ICE) vehicles this month.
Eight E-450 shuttle busses will go to tourist destinations in Florida, where they will be highly visible to the public.
"Because these buses will be in continuous service in very public places, we’ll be able to communicate to hundreds of thousands of consumers that Ford is developing innovative products to meet future transportation (...)
You would think with gasoline prices hovering around $3 a gallon, drivers would be looking for less expensive alternatives. But many of those who could – don’t. Premium fuel continues to make up 15 to 20 percent of sales even though less than five percent of the vehicles on the road today require it.
Simply put, 10 to 15 percent of consumers may be unnecessarily pumping premium fuel into vehicles that don’t need it.
“It’s a feel good thing,” says Pete Misangyi, Fuels and Lubricants Engineering (...)