Contrary to comments made about three weeks ago at the conference in Detroit, it seems as though Ford is developing a long-range, affordable electric vehicle to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, told The Detroit News: “Our EVs come down to making sure we’re the best or among the leaders in those areas. When you look at some of the competition, clearly that’s something we’re developing for.”
Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification, told Automotive News that an upcoming revision to the Focus Electric would have enough range to satisfy most commuters in the US.
The new 2017 Focus Electric will have its driving range bumped up from 122 kilometres to 161km.
Likely to have a price of around US$29,000 ($41,326), the Focus EV will undercut upcoming electric cars from GM and Tesla. Both Ford’s crosstown rival and the upstart electric car maker are planning on launching EVs with a range of at least 322km.
The Chevrolet Bolt will launch in the US at the end of the year. The hatchback is equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack from LG Chem and will have a starting price of US$37,500.
Meanwhile, Tesla says that it will begin full-scale production of the BMW 3 Series/Mercedes-Benz C-Class-chasing Model 3 in 2018.
Utilising batteries produced in conjunction with Panasonic at its ambitious Gigafactory in Nevada, the Model 3 range will start proceedings at US$35,000.
It’s unknown at this stage whether Ford’s rival, as well as the second-generation Nissan Leaf, will be a variant of an upcoming model — possibly the next-generation Focus — or be a new model with unique styling.