Recent advances in battery technology make it possible for electric vehicles to drive farther on a single charge than ever before. However, Ford has revealed that it’s not interested in building a battery-powered car that offers 200 miles of driving range.
A 200-mile EV would give Ford a product to compete against the hotly anticipated 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, and the upcoming second generation of the Nissan Leaf. Executives explained that they’ve ruled out building such a vehicle for the time being because achieving 200 miles on a single charge would require a battery pack that’s big, heavy, and expensive.
Instead, Ford’s next all-electric car is a comprehensively revised version of the Focus Electric. It will arrive this fall with a 100-mile range, about 25 more than the model that’s currently found in showrooms. That’s not much on paper, and certainly not when the Bolt promises to drive for at least 200 miles between plug-ins, but Ford believes it’s enough to satisfy the needs of most buyers who are in the market for a compact electric car.
“I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now,” affirmed Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering, in an interview with trade journal Automotive News.
That doesn’t mean the Blue Oval is giving up on so-called green vehicles altogether. Recent rumors indicate Ford is in the early stages of developing a dedicated hybrid model that will fight in the same segment as the Toyota Prius and the recently-introduced Hyundai Ioniq. The car could be called Model E, and it will likely be built alongside the next-generation Focus in Mexico starting in 2019.