The American company and electric vehicle specialists Zotye Automobile will build and sell the fully-electric vehicles in China, the fastest-growing market in the world for electric, hybrid and alternatively-fuelled vehicles.
Ford expects that the number of new energy vehicles (NEVs: hybrid, electric, hydrogen, etc.) will exceed six million units a year by 2025, and that two-thirds of that enormous number will be electric vehicles.
Officials are also working on new rules that would require 8% of vehicle sales to be electric next year and 12% by 2020.
"Electric vehicles will be a big part of the future in China", said Peter Fleet, CEO of Ford China. Zotye, Ford's new partner, is an electric vehicle specialist, with a total of 16,000 EV sales so far in 2017. By 2040 the analysts forecast U.S. EV sales will account for 58% of all new auto sales, and China EV sales will account for 51% of new cars sold in the Middle Kingdom. Zotye, which does not produce gas or diesel cars, sold more than 16,000 electric vehicles through July this year - a 56% increase from the same period in 2016.
Enlarge Image If it comes to fruition the partnership with Zotye Auto would be Ford's third in China. James Leynse Getty Images
New auto sales in China are much higher than in the USA: the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the U.S.in July was about 16.7 million units; in China the rate was 24 million.
The joint venture would aim to capture "a sizeable share" of China's all-electric passenger vehicle market, though the firms said further details, including information about products, production volume, and the brand, will be announced at a later date, pending a final definitive agreement and the regulatory go-ahead.
Globally, Ford is in the midst of a $4.5 billion investment in electrification that will result in 13 new electrified vehicles in the next five years.
The vehicle - the Baojun E100 - is made in China by a joint venture between GM and China's SAIC and Wuling Motors.