Ford Motor Co is taking a cautious approach to producing electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for the Chinese market, citing uncertainty about consumer interest and government policy, despite a rush by carmakers to jump into the sector.
Ford earlier this month outlined plans to offer by 2025 hybrid or fully electric versions of all models built in China with its domestic joint venture partner, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd.
However, Ford executives said how many such vehicles are built and sold will depend on factors including government subsidies, regulatory policy and when battery-electric cars can match the cost and fast refueling of gasoline vehicles.
During a meeting with reporters ahead of the Shanghai auto show on Wednesday, Worthington and Mazen Hammoud, the automaker’s Asia Pacific powertrain director, said battery recharging would be a critical issue.
Worthington also said Ford has a “team of people who meet with the government every week” to discuss the still evolving policies designed to promote vehicle electrification.
Reuters reported in March, citing industry executives, that China was considering easing proposed quotas aimed at producing more electric vehicles. China has strongly supported and subsidized electric vehicles, but is gradually swapping out incentives for hard targets automakers must meet.
Worthington added Ford intended to bring to market what Chinese officials call “new energy vehicles” in a cost efficient way. He also expressed confidence the Chinese government would not push regulations that harm the industry.