Ford revs up its electric cars
Meanwhile, Ford is also on the march in electric vehicles. By 2020, 10 to 25 percent of Ford products will be some form of an electric or hybrid vehicle, up from two percent today, said Michael Tinsky, associate director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford.
The car maker is just starting to roll out in select markets its first full electric vehicles, a version of the Focus that fully outfitted lists for $39,750 before government incentives. The EV will have a 100-mile range on its 23 kWh lithium ion battery and a 3-4 hour charge time using a 6.6 kW (230 Volt, 32 Amp) on-board AC charger.
Ford is hoping the lower price of its Focus EVs undercuts the advantages of EVs from companies such as Tesla which promise much longer ranges but sport higher prices. Rival Tesla is gearing up its sales program for its competing Model S and aims to be ready to make as many as 20,000 cars a year at its Silicon Valley plant starting early next year.
Meanwhile, Ford is also gearing up a range of hybrids and plug-in hybrids. “We’re very bullish on the hybrids and plug ins,” said Tinskey. “We think EVs are more of niche due to their limited range,” he said.
Moving from two to 25 percent of its cars being some form electric is all about “cost cost and cost,” Tinskey said. “As we go from generation to generation of our designs, we have taken 30 percent out of the costs of the products so far and we are hoping that holds true,” he added.
The latest line uses all lithium ion batteries from LG Chem, a division of Korea’s LG based in Holland, Michigan. The batteries are significantly smaller and lighter than NiMH batteries used in earlier generations and still reliable enough for Ford to provide a ten-year warranty.
Some observers say
lithium ion is not yet ready for mainstream EVs.
The Ford Focus can charge in half the time of the Nissan Leaf, says Michael Tinskey.