To the tune of $4.5 billion USD! Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Dec. 10, 2015 Ford said it is investing an additional $4.5 billion in electrified vehicle solutions by 2020, including the new Focus Electric with DC fast-charge capability. The company is adding 13 new electrified vehicles to its product portfolio by 2020 and more than 40 percent of Ford’s nameplates globally will be electrified by the end of the decade. This represents Ford’s largest-ever electrified vehicle investment over any five-year period in company history. The new Focus Electric, which starts production late next year, also will provide North American and European customers: Customizable SmartGauge with EcoGuide LCD Instrument Cluster Brake Coach <-- Gimmicky at best Focus ST like steering and handling to give drivers a more connected feel to the road Ford also announced it is going to set itself apart by focusing on the customer experience and not just the vehicle itself. The company is changing its product development process to support the shift. Ford is investing in social science-based research observing how consumers interact with vehicles and gaining new insights into future product design. During the past three years, ReD, a social science-based strategy consultancy, has spent over 4,000 hours with thousands of vehicle users in more than 25 cities worldwide, taking 80,000 photos, nearly 3,000 hours of video and more than 8,000 pages of field notes, feeding countless insights to improve the product creation process. Another new twist to the product development process is that designers no longer just sketch products but also full customer experience illustrations that visualize the experience each product is meant to deliver. The series of vignettes define a unique user journey that seamlessly integrates both hardware and software experiences. This user experience design technique also plays an important role in developing the Ford Smart Mobility plan, which is designed to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. I am not sure how this will play out as I have not seen a hint of future plans but Ford usually comes up with something newsworthy with each new release. SmartGauge with Eco Guide was an excellent advance when we first saw it in the Fusion way back in 2009. Who knows, maybe Ford is going to reinvent the PHEV to something less costly, more practical and more like the performance vehicles they currently produce?