US automotive giant Ford is teaming up with Chinese zero-emissions vehicle maker Anhui Zotye Automobile to fast-track the development of affordable electric cars.
China is already the world’s largest market for electric cars and is fast becoming a hotbed of automotive innovation as more and more of its domestic automotive brands explore new and interesting ways of creating cars that minimise gasoline use or eliminate it altogether.
Ford’s own data forecasts that by 2025, Chinese drivers will be buying six million “New Energy Vehicles” (NEVs) annually and that two-thirds of these vehicles will be plug-in electric cars.
Therefore, the company is looking to get a strong foothold in this market by forming a joint venture with Anhui Zotye Automobile – currently the market leader in the domestic compact electric car market – and developing an all-new zero-emissions vehicle.
“The potential to launch a new line of all-electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is an exciting next step for Ford in China,” said Peter Fleet, president, Ford Asia Pacific.
The new vehicle would also see the creation of a new automotive brand co-owned by the two firms and dedicated to plug-in cars. “This presents us with an exciting opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths in achieving a win-win situation for both parties’ growth in the fast-evolving Chinese electric vehicle market,” said Anhui Zotye Automobile president Jin ZheYong.
On Tuesday, Ford also officially launched a first-of-its-kind scrappage scheme for UK drivers, whereby it would offer incentives of between £2000-£7000 (RM10,700–RM38,500) for owners of cars registered before December 2009 to trade up to a new Ford.
What sets the scheme apart from others currently on offer around Europe from the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Fiat and VW is that Ford has pledged to scrap every single traded vehicle – meaning that thousands of polluting cars will be removed from the roads for good – rather than pass the cars in good condition on to the used market.
“Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality,” said Andy Barratt, Chairman and MD of Ford Britain. “We will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped. Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities.” — AFP Relaxnews