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Ford creates “Team Edison” to boost EV development

Jim Hackett (left), the new president and CEO of Ford with Executive Chairman Bill Ford (right). Hackett introduced Team Edison this week.

EV-focused unit introduced by new Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a bid to compete with Tesla

In an attempt to ignite its electric vehicle vision, Ford has created a new business unit dubbed “Team Edison.” The team’s aim is to identify and develop electric-vehicle partnerships with other companies, including those in the supply chain.

Mark Fields former CEO has recently been replaced by Jim Hackett. As one of his first bold moves, Hackett has introduced this new team in a bid to help the company keep pace with EV competitors such as Tesla.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford told the press: “If you look at the technology coming into our industry, the competitors coming into our industry…we really need transformational leadership.” Hackett has previously proven himself as a worthy candidate for CEO as he has been head of the Ford’s autonomous car department.

Bill Ford praised Hackett’s ability to take the company in a new direction: “Jim took a company that defined itself as a furniture maker [his former position was at office furniture company Steelcase], and Jim said, ‘No, let’s imagine the future of the workplace. Let’s imagine how people are going to want to work in the future, and then let’s build the company around that.”

The team is named after the famous inventor Thomas Edison. Edison was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention. He also proposed building electric cars before petrol and diesel cars were around – an avenue also pursued by Henry Ford.

According to Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, Team Edison will be based in Detroit and work with regional Ford teams in China and Europe. Meanwhile, Ted Cannis has been named global director of electrification, the team will report to him.

Marakby said Team Edison “will look holistically at the electric vehicle market,” adding that “the idea is to think big, move fast and make quicker decisions” on EV production as demand increases and technology advances.
With plans to spend US$4.5 billion over five years on electrified vehicles Ford appears more dedicated to the EV cause than it has been in previous years. Team Edison should serve as an extra push towards its transition from hydrocarbons to electricity.


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