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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday January 17 2018, @07:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the chips-on-the-table dept.

Ford Motor Company plans to substantially increase its investment in electric vehicles:

Ford Motor Co's plan to double its electrified vehicle spending is part of an investment tsunami in batteries and electric cars by global automakers that now totals $90 billion and is still growing, a Reuters analysis shows.

That money is pouring in to a tiny sector that amounts to less than 1 percent of the 90 million vehicles sold each year and where Elon Musk's Tesla Inc, with sales of only three models totaling just over 100,000 vehicles in 2017, was a dominant player.

[...] "We're all in," Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr said of the company's $11 billion investment, announced on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. "The only question is, will the customers be there with us?"

[...] Investments in electrified vehicles announced to date include at least $19 billion by automakers in the United States, $21 billion in China and $52 billion in Germany.

Also at CNBC.

Related: Ford Pumps Cash Into Company Creating Maps for Self-Driving Cars
Ford Invests in Michigan's Autonomous Car Testing Grounds


Original Submission

Related Stories

Ford Pumps Cash Into Company Creating Maps for Self-Driving Cars 9 comments

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Ford is already deeply involved with these sorts of investments, but its portfolio is growing once again with an investment in a company building maps for self-driving cars.

Civil Maps' goal is to create a set of high definition maps that self-driving cars can use to navigate. The company takes data from Lidar and cameras and translates it into a format cars can understand. It prides itself on having a small data footprint, making it easier to transmit data to and from vehicles.

"Autonomous vehicles require a totally new kind of map," said Civil Maps CEO Sravan Puttagunta in a statement. "Civil Maps' scalable map generation process enables fully autonomous vehicles to drive like humans do -- identifying on-road and off-road features even when they might be missing, deteriorated or hidden from view and letting a car know what it can expect along its route."

The company received $6.6 million in seed funding from Ford and five other investors. Civil Maps isn't a large company, with just 16 employees on the payroll. Ford's other recent work with startups includes a $182.2 million investment in software company Pivotal, and its Ford Fusion sedan is the basis for an autonomous test car Uber has deployed in Pennsylvania.


Original Submission

Ford Invests in Michigan's Autonomous Car Testing Grounds 5 comments

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow5743

Ford might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of autonomous vehicles (unless you really like Domino's pizza), but that doesn't mean the automaker is sitting by while everyone else is making leaps and bounds in the space. The company just announced that it's making a $5 million investment in the American Center for Mobility. "This is an investment in the safe, rapid testing and deployment of transformative technology that will help improve peoples' lives," Ford's CTO Ken Washington said in a press release (PDF).

The money puts Ford in the same company as AT&T, Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Research Institute as a founder of the 500 acre Willow Run autonomous vehicle testing campus located outside of Detroit in Ypsilanti Township. Willow Run's first phase is scheduled to open this December. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the investment a show of faith from Ford to the world's automotive capital. "As the convergence between the technological and manufacturing sectors continues to grow, it is very encouraging to see great Michigan companies like Ford leading the way toward our future," he said in the same release.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/15/ford-willow-run-investment/


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @07:21AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @07:21AM (#623476)

    Why must there be 40 models?

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @07:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @07:36AM (#623478)

      The man punched and he punched and he punched. The sound of flesh colliding with flesh seemed as though it would continue for an eternity. The result was gruesome: The woman's anal bridge had collapsed, and she had become rectumbound.

    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:31AM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:31AM (#623485) Journal

      There are only twenty seven models currently in production:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ford_vehicles [wikipedia.org]

      Maybe *every* truck, car, MPV and tractor with a Ford badge will be hybrid or electric.

      Maybe every badge on every model is counted..

      Maybe somone can't count?

      --
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:12AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:12AM (#623493)

      10 more than those 30 pieces of silver.
      One for each day of Easter Lent.

      This does show Ford works in mysterious ways.

      (GRIN)

    • (Score: 1) by ewk on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:42AM

      by ewk (5923) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:42AM (#623500)

      Maybe the different battery capacities account for the number of models?

      --
      I don't always react, but when I do, I do it on SoylentNews
  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:58AM

    by Bot (3902) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @09:58AM (#623506) Journal

    Electric vehicles have the potential of costing much less than ICE for maintenance.
    But the surviving auto makers did so by milking customers for maintenance and some billions of their investments will go straight to ensuring planned obsolescence.

    I'd ideally buy some toy car from small manufacturers, or, soon, print my own.

    BTW I own a ford, it's a pity that latest fiesta grew in dimensions because the older model was perfect. A car must be easy to park, sturdy, large enough that a 500 mile trip is feasible. All the rest is fluff and escalation against threats from other drivers (for SUVs)

    --
    Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday January 17 2018, @12:30PM (9 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @12:30PM (#623555) Journal

    My brother is an engineer at Ford, in their R&D division. We went to visit him in Michigan last summer and he said the new CEO had held pow-wows with the department heads in which he told them they weren't competing against the GM's of the world, but rather Tesla. This confirms he was serious.

    If Ford realizes this, and other mass-market brands follow suit, the oil companies are done for.

    I'm glad, actually, because the electric cars drive so much better than gas cars. The acceleration is instant and precise. The quiet is a blessing. The convenience of recharging at home or at your destination instead of taking detours to a gas station is welcome. Their compatibility with autonomous driving is another benefit waiting in the wings, for those who mostly drive in congested urban areas.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by Bobs on Wednesday January 17 2018, @04:11PM (2 children)

      by Bobs (1462) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @04:11PM (#623633)

      Thanks for posting - interesting.

      Yet it sounds like they are not sure what to do and are going to try everything: Throw it all at the wall and see what sticks.

      That is NOT the Tesla approach, nor Apple.

      I submit it might be better to come up with fewer, great products and focus on making those excellent.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday January 17 2018, @06:17PM (1 child)

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @06:17PM (#623695) Journal

        Ford makes most of its money from its trucks. The rest are there for market presence.

        The Tesla's Model S outselling Mercedes and BMW in its category, which are the revenue centers for those two, has shaken up the industry. They had written Tesla off as an eco-hippy freakshow, but Tesla stole a march on them by building a luxury car their target market would rather own. Tesla beat them at their own game, in other words, and the fact that it's an electric car just adds a little cachet.

        So Tesla's announcement of their EV pickup has Ford concerned they could be next in their favorite category. Anyway my brother's happy; he has been talking for years about jumping ship for Tesla because Ford was hopelessly staid, but now that Tesla is perceived to be a threat Ford has been throwing money and attention at R&D and have been open to do new things in a way they never were before.

        Competition is good.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:22PM

          by cmdrklarg (5048) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:22PM (#623774)

          I currently drive a Toyota RAV4 (and am pleased with it), but what I would really like to drive is a small to mid-size electric pickup. Hopefully Ford will eventually offer an all-electric Ranger someday before I get too damned old to drive one.

          --
          The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @05:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17 2018, @05:21PM (#623664)

      Hard to believe that was the whole message at Ford -- since most of what Tesla has built is for the high end luxury market. And Ford primarily makes pickups and other trucks.

      I'm assuming that Ford's product mix will continue to be based (for the most part) on what is selling...and that is trucks (sadly--I personally like cars, sitting lower, less rolling and pitching, etc).

    • (Score: 2) by gottabeme on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:15PM (2 children)

      by gottabeme (1531) on Wednesday January 17 2018, @08:15PM (#623769)

      If Ford realizes this, and other mass-market brands follow suit, the oil companies are done for.

      Why?

      1. A large amount of the electricity that is used is generated with oil. Electric cars run on electricity, and are produced with electricity. Therefore, unless and until none of our electricity is generated by oil, they ultimately run on oil.

      The convenience of recharging at home or at your destination instead of taking detours to a gas station is welcome.

      2. The electrical grid cannot currently support the equivalent amount of energy that is currently used by cars in the form of petroleum products. Even if everyone wanted to dump their gas-powered cars and buy electric cars right now, the infrastructure could not support it.

      3. Even if the grid could support it, battery technology cannot replace gas tanks for all needs. Energy density and recharge/refill times are not equivalent. This is not likely to change anytime soon, although hopefully it will, eventually (wouldn't we all like it if our smartphones could last more than a day or two between charges).

      Therefore, oil companies are not going anywhere. That is silly hyperbole.

      The quiet is a blessing.

      Compared to drivers who equip their cars with intentionally loud exhausts, I agree. Compared to normal vehicles, no, because most of the noise that normal gas-powered cars make is tire noise, especially inside the car.

      Their compatibility with autonomous driving is another benefit waiting in the wings, for those who mostly drive in congested urban areas.

      This is a puzzling myth; I really wonder how it got started. Electric cars are no more compatible with self-driving than ICE-powered cars. Cruise controls have been around for decades, and all the major car companies and self-driving car projects already use ICE-powered cars (with the obvious exception of Tesla, which is beside the point).

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by RedBear on Thursday January 18 2018, @12:17AM

        by RedBear (1734) on Thursday January 18 2018, @12:17AM (#623920)

        2. The electrical grid cannot currently support the equivalent amount of energy that is currently used by cars in the form of petroleum products. Even if everyone wanted to dump their gas-powered cars and buy electric cars right now, the infrastructure could not support it.

        This is a view that doesn't seem to be shared by the people who actually run national power grids. And it is usually based on the false premise that electric cars have to charge from zero to 100% every day, which isn't true. The average daily drive even in the US is 36 miles and many drive less than that. The amount of energy millions of electric cars will need every night is therefore much lower than many people think. Plus, the time of charging is scheduled to be during the time of night when the energy usage will help flatten out the "bathtub effect" that makes operating the power grid less efficient. That's why utilities in many areas already give a discount for nighttime EV charging.

        There is another aspect. Progress has been made on Vehicle-2-Grid systems that can feed energy back into the grid from the car just as if it was a household solar array or wind turbine. That can and will help even out the huge spikes that happen in grid usage in the morning and evening, which again causes grid operators to have to fire up additional capacity just to serve those spikes, and thus increases the overall cost of running the grid and providing electricity. With V2G integrated into future EVs and charging systems, electricity will be cheaper, and EV batteries will help provide the "energy storage" that is needed to make solar and wind even more cost effective than they already are. I just read an article that projected the costs for both solar and wind to drop to $0.03 per kilowatt-hour by 2020. The future for fossil fuels for electricity production is looking pretty bleak.

        1. A large amount of the electricity that is used is generated with oil. Electric cars run on electricity, and are produced with electricity. Therefore, unless and until none of our electricity is generated by oil, they ultimately run on oil.

        It's mostly coal or natural gas, at least in the US. And many EV owners either have solar panels already or install solar panels after buying an EV. As the grid gets cleaner by transitioning to renewable energy sources, the EV gets cleaner, even if the owner doesn't charge partly from solar or wind. We get all our power from a local dam, so in this town if you drive an EV it is already 100% clean. With the costs of renewable energy dropping so rapidly, the grid is on the verge of getting cleaner much sooner than anyone expected.

        Compared to drivers who equip their cars with intentionally loud exhausts, I agree. Compared to normal vehicles, no, because most of the noise that normal gas-powered cars make is tire noise, especially inside the car.

        I don't think you've spent much time in an EV. A nice new mid-range or premium ICE vehicle can be pretty quiet and smooth, but there's still always something there, a level of noise and vibration even when sitting at idle that is simply missing in an EV. The best sound dampening and vibration isolating mounts can't completely negate it even in the most premium of vehicles. It's like the difference between a barely perceptible hiss in a pair of headphones versus absolute silence. They aren't the same.

        And then there's the smells. Even nice ICE cars are permeated over time with the smell of oil, gas and exhaust fumes. Once you get away from it for a while, spend a year not going anywhere near a gas station, you'll really notice it.

        But you're right that the oil industry isn't going to collapse even if we're all suddenly driving EVs tomorrow. Oil is used for too many different things outside of transportation, all around the world. Fossil fuel use is even expected to continue increasing for a few decades, driven by demand from developing nations. They will be "finished" however, in the sense that the auto industry will no longer be closely tied to what the oil industry wants. I expect that's basically what Phoenix meant.

        --
        ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
        ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday January 18 2018, @01:00PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday January 18 2018, @01:00PM (#624112) Journal

        1. A large amount of the electricity that is used is generated with oil. Electric cars run on electricity, and are produced with electricity. Therefore, unless and until none of our electricity is generated by oil, they ultimately run on oil.

        No, it isn't. In 2016 oil generated about 1% of America's electricity [eia.gov].

        2. The electrical grid cannot currently support the equivalent amount of energy that is currently used by cars in the form of petroleum products.

        Most people would charge their EVs overnight, at home, when electricity demand has traditionally been lowest and the utilities have generally taken losses because they have to keep coal plants running to maintain base load. Here's the 24-hr demand curve [eia.gov] to illustrate. Residential solar power has also been growing [seia.org], so it is increasingly not on the grid to supply the power that EVs will demand.

        3. Even if the grid could support it, battery technology cannot replace gas tanks for all needs. Energy density and recharge/refill times are not equivalent.

        The average American commuter drives 30 miles per day [dot.gov]. Nearly every EV at this point can handle that distance.

        Further, most oil consumption in America is for transportation [eia.gov]. As such, when the transportation fleet switches over to EVs, as it is with this Ford announcement and others, and because Americans these days replace their cars much more frequently than before, the demand for oil in the United States will plummet.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @01:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18 2018, @01:04AM (#623939)

      > ... The convenience of recharging at home

      Easy for you, homeowner with garage. What about all the people that rent, and/or live where the only parking is on-street?

      The transition to "all electric" is a long ways off.

    • (Score: 2) by CoolHand on Thursday January 18 2018, @12:36PM

      by CoolHand (438) on Thursday January 18 2018, @12:36PM (#624106) Journal

      they weren't competing against the GM's of the world, but rather Tesla. This confirms he was serious.

      If Ford realizes this, and other mass-market brands follow suit, the oil companies are done for..

      It seems to me that Ford is actually following GM's lead [investorplace.com] here from their October announcement on EV's..

      GM is taking a big stride toward its goals of an all-electric future, per Reuters. The auto giant has plans of rolling out two new electric vehicles (EVs) in the next 18 months. Also, it intends to add more than 20 electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in its lineup by 2023. With this, the number one U.S. automaker joins several European and Japanese peers, who have vowed to speed up development of EVs.

      A large reason for GM to do that was the success they've had with the Bolt so far (which is more or less already competing with Tesla). So, it seems, Ford has already realized they're behind the 8ball with their traditional competitors.

      --
      Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
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