Ford in it for the long haul, will not be deterred by expected slow sales of Focus Electric


When it comes to electric vehicles Ford is in it for the long haul. Recently, Ford President Alan Mulally reiterated the American automakers determination to double production and delivery of electric vehicles regardless of any slow sales the battery-powered Focus Electric may encounter.

For now, the Ford boss says he doesn’t mind if initial sales fail to skyrocket. Even selling fewer than 5,000 Focus EVs in the first year wouldn’t be considered a failure, Mulally told reporters yesterday in Laguna Niguel, California.

Rather than shield itself from potential failure, Ford isn’t hedging its bets. Instead, the Blue Oval appears to be steering its ship right down Electric Avenue at full steam.

“…We believe that the electrification of vehicles is going to continue as the battery cost comes down, as we move to generate electricity cleanly,” Mulally said at a conference hosted by Fortune magazine. “We see this as continually growing. This is a long-term journey.”

Indeed it is. According to Bloomberg, EV market share grew faster than any other segment in the first quarter of 2012. As sales of EVs continue to surge, Ford faces stiff competition from the likes of Nissan, Mistubishi, Toyota, and long-time rival General Motors. All of which have a competing presence in the emerging EV market.

But like most EVs on the market, Ford’s battery-powered Focus will cost a pretty penny when it rolls out later this spring. Sticker price for the Focus Electric starts at $39,000 and offers an average range of 76 miles. By contrast, Nissan’s all-electric Leaf starts at $35,200 while General Motor’s extended-range plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt starts around $40,000. Going green might be easier on the planet, but it’s awfully hard on your wallet.

Even if Ford does manage to sell 5,000 Focus Eletrics, that figure would place sales at roughly half of Nissan Leaf sales, and just under the Chevrolet Volt. Should gas prices continue to climb (right now they average around $3.90 a gallon), sales of EVs will no doubt continue to as well.

Regardless of sales figures, Ford has made clear that the electrification of its fleet and concentrated push to promote and refine battery-powered autos will play a big part of the company’s long term strategy.