Ford Motor Company is exploring a new joint venture with Chinese company Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. that would produce electrified vehicles for the world’s biggest auto market under a new brand, Reuters reports. The American automaker stated Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding pertaining to the possible future joint venture, in which Ford and Zotye would each have a 50-percent stake.
China is aggressively pursuing so-called “new-energy vehicles” (NEVs) as a solution to the problem of excessive air pollution in its urban centers, putting tens of billions of dollars toward the technology in the form of investments, research funding, and subsidies, Reuters says. The country is aiming for NEVs to make up a fifth or more of all auto sales by 2025; Ford forecasts that by that year, electrified vehicles could grow to 6 million unit sales per year, with pure-electric vehicles making up two thirds of that quantity.
Ford has called Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. China’s leader in the pure-electric small-vehicle segment. The automaker sold in excess of 16,000 pure-electric vehicles from the start of the year through July, representing year-over-year growth of 56 percent, according to Reuters.
Ford in April announced plans to introduce two new electrified vehicles in China by 2020, with more on the way over the following five years. The automaker has said it intends for each model made locally by Changan Ford to be electrified by 2025.