Ford makes push for EVs dam clear
Ford has been promising to up its game in vehicle electrification for a couple of years now, and it was on a cold April evening in Amsterdam that the company took the plunge.
The ‘Go Further’ event was held in a large quirky warehouse, which served as a sugar production factory in a former life, a few miles outside the Dutch capital.
The Kuga will be available as a mild-hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full hybrid. Customers will also be able to choose from a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel or a 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine, each of which will be paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The petrol EcoBoost will likely be a popular choice—we’ve tested the brilliant 1.5-litre in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it.
There is also more interior space in the Kuga thanks to the use of Ford’s new global C2 architecture. This has resulted in a weight reduction of 90kg when compared to the predecessor, as well as a 10% increase in torsional stiffness.
Ford is also electrifying its larger models—it showcased a new Explorer plug-in hybrid at the event. The model will come equipped with the 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine along with an electric motor that will have the ability of offering a pure electric range of 25 miles. That seems a bit low to us.
However, the idea behind this is to allow city drivers to travel unhindered. As a resident of central London, the Ford Explorer wouldn’t be the first car on my 'to buy' list—it would likely take about seven weeks to find a large enough parking space near my house. That said, the ability to drive the Explorer in pure electric mode, even just for a short distance, will make it much more viable option for city dwellers. Depending on official emissions, that 25-mile EV range means it should also be exempt from London's congestion charge until 2021.
Tourneo and Transit
And if the giant Explorer isn’t big enough for your needs, Ford will offer its Tourney as a plug-in hybrid too. The company says it has been designed to help businesses operate in cities across Europe like London, for example, where the ultra-low emission vehicle zone is now in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drivers will be able to go 31 miles in pure electric mode.
Or, if something even larger is required, Ford is planning to offer an all-electric version of the Transit. A prototype silently took the stage, and a series production version will be available in 2021. Official range figures haven’t yet been released, but we’re sure that you could do more than nip to the local off license in the electric Transit.
Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo
We’re not expecting this to be a break through moment for electrification, but the fact that the new Fiesta and Focus will come as mild-hybrids is certainly significant. So many drivers still despise the fact that some electrified models on the market look like the car out of Breaking Bad (the outrageously weird Pontiac Aztek). If Ford can trick people into buying electrified vehicles without them noticing it apart from when they save fuel and cash, then the likelihood of greater uptake for hybrids could increase.
The 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine will feature in the mild-hybrid Fiesta and Focus. Hopefully I’ll be able to drive from London and Wales and back without spending a fortune.
Speaking of electrification in disguise, the Mondeo will also be available as a full hybrid. The estate has always been a solid option for families that need a bit more space but don’t want to sit high up in an SUV. Perhaps this preference is becoming less common, but Ford is still keen to cater for all.
We didn’t get much of a look at the new Puma—it swept briefly across a dark, smoke-filled stage before exiting the building. However, it was clear that the SUV is stocky and has some prominent lines, giving it a sporty and rugged appearance.
We do know that the Puma will be available as a hybrid, arriving in 2020, and that it will have a range of around 370 miles. It will also be built at Ford’s Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania.
A beefed up, hybrid Ford Puma? It's certainly a sign of the times.