Ford is planning to launch its plug-in hybrid Mondeo Energi in China next year, marking the start of a drive to electrify 70 per cent of the brand’s Chinese models by 2025. The car is already sold in the US as the Fusion Energi, but it will be the first such Ford to hit Chinese shores.
The plans only indicate an electrified option or two within each model range, rather than making all individual cars hybrid or electric, but the announcement triggers the starting gun on a decade that will change the global automotive landscape as manufacturers try to time their products with the expected increase in demand.
The plug-in Mondeo will be sold alongside the closed, full-hybrid Mondeo already on offer; a pattern that is expected to continue across most models. A third, fully-electric powertrain is on the table for some models.
All model ranges built in China by the Changan Ford joint venture will have electrified options by 2025, including the Mondeo Energi, which will be seven years old by that time. Ford will be competing for a slice of the 15 per cent market share predicted to materialise for electric and hybrid vehicles in the huge far-eastern country by 2025.
Ford will even be building electrified powertrains locally in China by 2020, marking a serious step up in intent. It’s expected that the Chinese plants will produce cars and parts only for China, for now.
With the Mondeo Energi planned, the C-Max Energi is already testing on Chinese streets in the hands of guinea pig fleet operators. A fully-electric small SUV is on the way within five years, Ford adds, and with a driving range of 280 miles per charge, it will be shared with Europe and the US.
Although this is out of our ballpark for now, we feel it’s important to keep pace with. Given that certain expectations for quality and longevity in cars seem to be lower in China, perhaps the country makes a perfect test bed for ironing out problems before the technology makes it to the West. What goes there, might come here.