Ford creates special team to advance electrification

Ford Focus EV

Ford, who has lagged behind rivals GM and Tesla in EV development, announced another aggressive step toward electric dominance. As reported by Forbes, the automaker has formed “Team Edison,” a group of leaders from different parts of the company under the leadership of Ted Cannis, who has served as executive director of investor relations. Team Edison comes amid Ford’s five-year plan to roll out 13 new hybrid and fully electric models. Ford will need Team Edison to work aggressively and effectively, as GM recently announced its own plans to develop 20 more full-electric vehicles by 2020, including two coming in the next 18 months that are based on the Chevy Bolt.

Team Edison will help Ford keep up with growing demand for full-electric vehicles as range anxiety fades and electrification becomes normalized. To do this, Team Edison will form partnerships with suppliers and Ford electrification teams operating in Europe and Asia, as reported by Engadget. In an interview with Reuters, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, said “the idea is to think big, move fast and make quicker decisions.” Cannis will report to Marakby about Team Edison’s activities.

Hopefully, Team Edison is a sign of coming expanded efforts. CEO Jim Hackett has only been in charge for a few months, after serving on the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors’ Sustainability and Innovation Committee and forming the Ford Smart Mobility unit. If Hackett can build off of the momentum created by former CEO Mark Fields’ investments in electrification, Ford will find itself in a healthy competition with GM, helping both companies compete with Tesla and solidifying Michigan’s position as an automotive leader and innovator. Hackett recently told investors that his vision for the company included a reduction in the overall number of models offered and a dramatic shift toward autonomous vehicles and electrification. However, Hackett did not provide specific numbers for these changes, so we’ll just have to wait and see what gets built by Michigan.