Ford is funneling a $4.5 billion into electric vehicles

It’s been quite the year for electric vehicle development at Ford: a  brand new battery research facility at the University of Michigan, opening its portfolio of electric vehicle patents and now 13 new electric vehicles by 2020.

First up: an improved Focus Electric which, according to the Wall Street Journal will have a 100 miles range.

What does this mean for Michigan? The Focus Electric is built at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Michigan, so a better Focus Electric could amp up demand, and hopefully bring some more jobs into the auto state.

And what about Ford’s other new EVs? Green Car Reports writes:

“Of those 13, analysts suggest, one might be a new battery-electric model, two to four might be plug-in hybrids, and the balance could be split among conventional hybrids and cars with 48-Volt systems.”

There’s also talk that Ford is looking to develop its own battery cell-chemistries, as evidenced by all its R&D investments in the last year. That makes it an outlier amongst manufacturers of EVs, many of whom have outsourced that work to companies like LG Chem (which is ramping up production in a major way over in Holland.)

The actual production of those cells will still be in the hands of companies like LG Chem, and since the Focus EV’s battery is Built by Michigan, we can hope the other cars’ will be as well.

Ford’s big push is a clear sign of where the industry is heading, writes Forbes:

“As the electric vehicle landscape gets increasing competitive and companies launch new models in the next five years, Ford’s focus is essential to remain relevant.“

A lot of this news is still wrapped up in predictions, so there will be a lot to keep tabs on this coming year