Ford Executive claims that for now, Hybrids beat EVs as self-driving cars
Ford Executive claims that for now, Hybrids beat EVs as self-driving cars07
Thanks to the Chevrolet Bolt EV (Electric Vehicle) General Motors has been fairly successful in the development of their self-driving technologies.
But Ford Motors thinks there a better solution than EVs, at least for the moment. They are developing autonomous technology using petrol-electric hybrids and not pure electric vehicles.
According to Jim Farley, who is Ford’s top sales executive, there are several factors in the decision to start with hybrids. For one, current EVs need to leave the road to charge every 250 miles or less, whereas a hybrid's range can extend well beyond that number, and filling a tank is still faster than filling a battery.
Fast charging also leads to increased battery degradation, which means car manufacturers need to spend more money on more frequent battery replacements. So, it boils down to money. Farley said:
"Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money,"
"The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see... is a much better cost-of-ownership model."
With developments in battery technology, these concerns may disappear in time but for now, in these early stages of the technologies, these concerns remain.
Ford's initial autonomy strategy will differ from General Motors. While GM is focusing on deploying early self-driving cars in the mobility space, or as is commonly known, ride hailing, Ford wants to start with a commercial push.
For example, in the near future, you pizza will be delivered by a self-driving Ford. Ford and Domino's announced that the two companies have partnered up to gauge customer reaction to self-driving cars. Instead of just asking folks on the street how they view autonomous vehicles, Ford wants to integrate one of its cars into the pizza delivery process.
Many industries can reap serious benefits from autonomous cars and these benefits and theses benefits and opportunities is certainly not lost on car manufactures and the automotive industry in general.
It's interesting, though, to see the differences in Ford and GM's approaches to the early days of autonomy. The faster the profits arrive, the more money both companies can dump into the research.