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The Mach E is Ford’s first long-range electric vehicle, which it plans to have on the market sometime next year. It’s the product of a US$11.5-billion investment in electric-car development announced in 2018. (The New York Times)

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Talking point: Most zero-emissions vehicles have been smaller, like the Tesla Model 3, which captured close to 70 per cent of the U.S. electric-vehicle market in the company’s second quarter this year. While electric cars are becoming more popular, so are SUVs and pickup trucks, and booming sales of large vehicles have offset the emissions reductions from the former. Ford is just the latest manufacturer to try and capitalize on both market trends in one product. General Motors is working on an electric Cadillac SUV, and Tesla is expected to unveil its electric pickup this week. Ford chairman William Clay Ford, Jr. acknowledged it won’t be easy to convert drivers of gas-guzzling vehicles to more expensive electric cars at a time when fuel is cheap: “We’ve pushed all our chips to the middle of the table,” he told The New York Times.

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The auto manufacturer opened the centre to the media for the first time this week, after spending two years developing its technology team in Waterloo. The company already has 150 employees at the facility, where Ford develops its Sync entertainment and communication system. The company plans to keep growing the workforce next year. (The Record)

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Talking point: Ford has other tech R&D centres in Ottawa, Oakville, Ont. and Michigan. The Canadian facilities, including Waterloo’s, are part of a $500-million investment the company made to expand its innovation efforts in the country. Ford’s interest in developing tech in Southern Ontario puts it up against GM, which since 2018 has been working on entertainment systems and autonomous-vehicle (AV) capabilities at its Canadian Technical Centre in Markham, Ont., which has a 1,000-employee capacity. And after announcing plans to shutter its Oshawa, Ont. plant last November and cut 2,6000 jobs, GM announced a $170-million investment to keep 300 employees, some of whom would work on the company’s AV testing.

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The two automakers have signed an agreement to jointly develop electric and autonomous vehicles. Ford will make pickups under both brands around the world and large commercial vans in Europe, while Volkswagen will build smaller vans. (Reuters)

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Talking point: The partnership is the latest example of automakers making big changes to their business models in response to the disruptive potential of self-driving cars—although tech companies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas have been playing down expectations —and growing demand for zero-emissions vehicles. Ford and Volkswagen said working together made sense because of the high cost of developing new technology. General Motors (GM) has taken a different approach, closing down factories producing existing models as part of a plan to launch 20 new battery-powered vehicles by 2023. Meanwhile, its plan to close its Oshawa, Ont. plant “has not changed,” but the company plans to continue manufacturing in St. Catharines and Ingersoll, Ont., Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said after meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra at the Detroit Auto Show yesterday.