Ford Creates 'Team Edison' To Accelerate Its Efforts in Battery-Electric
Oct 2, 2017 Dale Buss , Contributor
[image / STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
A Ford Focus electric concept car with a home charging unit on display at
the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Ford plans to intensify its investments in battery all-electric vehicles by
creating an internal team called "Team Edison" to focus on the technology,
headed by its current executive director of investor relations.
Ted Cannis will helm Team Edison, whose aim will be "to focus and grow our
battery-electric offerings and create winning battery-electric vehicles,"
Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president for autonomous vehicles and
electrification, told me. "What's important is having the focus of this team
to think big, move fast and in a very agile way."
Team Edison will "own the strategy, own the planning, and interface into the
trend" by bringing together Ford's efforts in technology, product
development, marketing and advanced manufacturing, Marakby said. "We'll have
leaders from all major areas of the company together to figure out strategy,
plans and vehicle offerings."
Ford is announcing Team Edison the same day that General Motors wowed
journalists at its technical center in Warren, Mich., with concept vehicles
and other support for the revelation that it plans to launch more than 20
new all-electric, zero-emission vehicles by 2023.
And news of Team Edison comes just a day before CEO Jim Hackett is to talk
with analysts and investors in New York to provide his first major update on
his three months as chief after succeeding Mark Fields.
Presumably, Cannis's own experience with Wall Street will be helpful to Ford
in communicating what Team Edison is accomplishing in bringing its EV effort
up to speed. While Ford was an early leader along with Toyota in fielding
hybrid electric vehicles, it has come to lag competitors with fully electric
models. Its only EV is a version of the Ford Focus subcompact car, though
Ford has said it plans to bring out a fully electric , small SUV with a
300-mile range by 2020. General Motors already has introduced a similar
vehicle in the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, and Tesla has begun producing its
Model 3 in small volumes.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. had said his concerns about "clock
speed" were one area of disappointment with Fields and one reason he turned
to Hackett to fill the top job. And while Ford Jr. clearly wanted to
accelerate the company's activities in mobility services and self-driving
technology when he said that, Marakby's announcement in part is an
acknowledgement that Ford needs faster "clock speed" in EVs as well.
"We see in different markets that consumers are more willing to drive
battery-electric vehicles," and EVs are "a strong trend in markets like
China," Marakby said. Consumers in such main markets "have become more
willing ot adapt to battery electrics. In the past, we've seen range anxiety
and other reasons for people to be hesitant. We see that changing
Marakby said that Hackett "has been a big driver of electrification (for)
the future" but that the timing of the Team Edison announcement didn't have
anything in particular to do with Hackett's appearance tomorrow. "He's been
a big supporter of this and a big champion of this."
Ford creates 'Team Edison' to speed up EV development
10.02.17 It'll even partner with other companies to make EVs happen ... The
aim is to "look holistically" at the EV space and "make quicker" decisions
to keep pace with the development of EV technology ...
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