Fuelling up the world’s economy is becoming a challenge, and the industry is grappling with the cost of replacing its cars with electric or plug-in hybrids.
On Monday, Ford Motor Co. reported it had to replace more than a quarter of its 1.2 million electric and plug-drive vehicles in 2019 because of an internal combustion engine problem.
Ford has said it will replace about half of its electric and hybrid vehicles by 2020, as it continues to struggle to overcome a decline in fuel efficiency and the increasing costs of building the vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is also planning to replace some of its 2.3 million plug-and-play electric vehicles with hybrids, which the automaker expects to make up a third of its sales by 2020.
With the plug-ins, Ford is able to drive about 40 percent more miles per gallon than its petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, while also making more power and producing less CO2 emissions, according to Ford.
In the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that Ford’s electric vehicles account for more than 20 percent of the country’s annual emissions, with about 4.6 million electric vehicles in use.
“We will continue to deliver the best-in-class products and services that are built to the highest standards and provide a safer environment,” said Scott Gelfand, Ford vice president for vehicle technologies, in a statement.
The automaker said it is still evaluating the fuel-economy issue and that it is also looking into its plans to increase fuel efficiency, such as adding more battery storage or electrifying some of the vehicles to make them more fuel-efficient.
Electric vehicles are more fuel efficient than petrol- or diesel-fueled vehicles, and they use less electricity to produce electricity.
Ford is using lithium ion batteries, a technology that has gained popularity in recent years, for its hybrid and electric vehicles.
Lithium-ion batteries have the advantage of being lightweight, as well as having better efficiency, compared to other batteries.
This year, Ford announced plans to replace the current generation of its Prius hybrids with a new, smaller version, which is expected to cost between $27,000 and $40,000 more than the previous model, but is expected not to be available until 2021.
Lithium ion batteries have lower energy density and are less expensive than their petrol-based counterparts.
If Ford does decide to continue to use lithium ion battery technology for its electric cars, the automakers plans could impact the cost and availability of plug-on hybrids.
While the battery-powered models could continue to be a key part of the automotive industry, the plug in hybrid versions could be a more viable alternative to the plug car in the long run.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of the vehicle fleet is now equipped with plug-ons, and a recent report from the US Government Accountability Office estimates that there are more than 10 million plug in hybrids in use in the U:U.S., but the number is rising quickly, and there are about 8.6 billion plug-On hybrids in the world today, up from 1.4 billion in 2017.
For now, the battery industry will have to be patient.
While the cost will go down and the vehicle will be more fuel hungry, it will be a while before the technology is widely adopted.
Some analysts are predicting that the plug on hybrid vehicle will become a niche market, and many of the models will end up being too expensive for most people to purchase, given the increasing energy density of the battery technology.
But Ford is optimistic about the long-term prospects of plug on hybrids.
“There’s a lot of momentum, there’s a good bit of excitement,” Gelfin said.
“We are continuing to be bullish on this technology.
I think the future is bright.
And I think people are going to embrace the technology.”
Follow us on Forbes: