Ford Planning Long Range Electric Car To Compete With Tesla And Chevrolet


Just a few days ago, we reported on how Ford Motor Company is content with electric cars that have only 100 miles of range.  Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering, told the SAE World Convention in Detroit earlier this month his company has no plans to join the electric car range race. Perhaps he should have checked with the boss first.

Ford electric car

During a conference call with investors on Thursday, Mark Fields, Ford’s CEO, said his company positively, absolutely will build an electric car with at least 200 miles of range. “We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position,” he said. “When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly, that’s something we’re developing for.”

Fields offered no specifics, however. Any claim that it is leading the field is ludicrous on its face. At best, Ford is more than a lap behind Chevrolet and about 2 laps behind Tesla. Fields may be trying to put a brave face on things, but the fact it that Ford is nothing more than a “me, too” company when it comes to electric cars.

Ford is planning to introduce an assortment of plug-in hybrid models in the near future, however. One of those may be called the Model E, a small car the company plans to build at a new factory in Mexico. According to reports, the Model E will be capable of being powered by multiple power trains depending on market demands. Hyundai is pursuing a similar strategy with its new Ioniq.

The problem Ford has is the same all legacy automakers have. They are making money hand over fist selling large SUV’s and trucks. The reason Fields was chatting with analysts yesterday was to share with them the good news. Ford had the highest first quarter net income in the company’s history, thanks to strong sales of its F series pickups and Explorer SUVs.

In an era of ridiculously low gas prices, consumers are voting with their wallets and buying the biggest, thirstiest vehicles they can find and in record numbers. How is Ford supposed to say “No, thank you,” to those customers and focus on small sedans that nobody wants? Tis a conundrum. For now, Ford and others can be expected to pay lip service to the idea of electric cars, but continue to build what sells. No responsible capitalist would do it any different.

If Ford is planning on being an electric car leader, it is keeping its plans well hidden and out of public view.

Source: Bloomberg  Photo credit: Ford


About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • AaronD12

    Especially since Ford’s financials were strongly raised because of brisk SUV and truck sales (high profit-margin vehicles). It’s frustrating how many hurdles and problems there are getting EVs into the mainstream.

    • Steve Hanley

      It’s true. We who assemble here tend to be EV enthusiasts. But market forces are against us. Sadly, everyone KNOWS we should be driving emissions free cars. But the economics of the situation suggest that a fossil free future is still down the road and around the bend. : – (

  • Ed

    A good leader would be using today’s high margin sales of large vehicles to make sure his company is ready for a very different future, an electrification future that is just around the corner. Yes, Wall Street is looking at the current quarter, but the leader’s job is to balance the story between today and tomorrow. The “we are not looking beyond 100 lies of range” was an unfortunate comment, and I am pleased to see the CEO step in to blunt the criticism. Now…I believe he is going to have to prove that Ford is actually investing in electrics in a serious way…not just spinning words.

  • John J. McAvoy

    This analysis is backwards. People are buying large vehicles because they like them, not because they want to burn fissile fuels. Nobody is building plug in trucks and/or suvs for the mass market. I do not believe that a light truck with a strong electric motor fed by a modest sized battery with an small, uncomplicated gasoline generator can’t be competitive with a large, complicated ICE and 6+ speed automatic transmission.

    • kevin mccune

      Have to agree John,Ford is said to be doing research on that in the near future and they have my interest ,I want a truck capable of at least thirty mpg and capable of merging with traffic ,there are 2 ways to do this and one way is already in the marketplace (checkout Ram ecodiesel [ tempting ] .top speed isnt important to me ,I want something that will flatten the hills and merge with traffic a diesel or hybrid would do both .I feel there is potential to simplify the drivetrain with a hybrid (did I mention AWD )
      My current 4×4 offers around 300 m ile range with poor performance and high maintainence ,I only want one vehicle and am looking for better in the future .

    • super390

      Firstly, the technical challenges with trucks and SUVs are much bigger than with sedans because of lousy aerodynamics and weight.
      Secondly, the aerodynamic and weight issues are part of the culture of trucks – not all truck buyers, but a large loyal faction of hereditary values. I think that engine noises are part of that culture too, as silly as it sounds. The culture consists of everything from the warlike connotations of SUVs (Hummers to Armadas and Enclaves) to the image of manliness that truck ads seem to have taken over from cigarette ads. This gets deep into the ideology of “real Americans”, the supposedly greater work ethic of non-urban Whites, and the association of heavy frame-on-body trucks with “work.” You would think manly, thinly populated Australia would buy monster trucks the way we do, but it doesn’t. It’s not based on reality for most buyers.
      So the gasoline generator is necessary to sound tough. And it has practical value for those all-important professional users. If they use hybrid trucks long enough, that might alter this very conservative consumer culture that worships those users as masculine role models.

  • Silent Majority

    Simple math: for the price of a compact electric car with 200 mile range, you can get a really nice car or a decent pickup truck. When electric vehicles can offer the same amenities at the same price, people will be demanding electric vehicles.

    • roseland67

      HArd argue with your simple math Silent, $5.00/Gallon gas may effect the $$$ some
      But the ICE has had a 100 + year run and is still grossly inefficient, the reaper is in the rear view mirror and gaining.
      I give it another 10 years and urban transportation will be mostly electric drive trains.

      • Silent Majority

        I take that with a grain a’salt and waiting for the battery.

  • Shiggity

    This is an official confession that EV’s have WON the car market.

    No place for ICE except for the truck / SUV marketplace now.

    EV’s are coming for you next.

  • Chris Overholt

    They are making money hand over fist until gas prices start to rise again. Then they will be scrambling to catch up if they can.


    We need one of auto makers to make a all electric car with battery pack only electric motor , with generators on all four wheels the battery is always charged by the vehicle wheels moving from the electic motor moving the car the wheels moving the four generators recharging batteries. never plug the vehicle to recharge. It recharges as it moves. You can go as many mile as you want with out plugging in to recharge.Why is it not on the market. It can be done!

    • kevin mccune

      Rob ,surely you jest ,you cannot get something from nothing(check out the third law of thermodynamics )(I think He was yanking our chain ).


        So a wind generator that you see in the fields of USA. that turns very slow but makes electric, that has gears slow turns big output, so your saying have electric car electric motor battery pack put a generator under rear end with gears just like wind generator slow wheel turns or fast turns as you drive puts charge in battery pack plus drives electric motor, has generator that will make electric motor drive car and charge up battery pack to full charge as you drive plus regen brakes recharges car battery pack.If you have the right generator right gearing to the generator it can be done. I can go 12 mile on 2 miles off my battery pack on my Ford Focus electric by in town driving with the regen braking in town.So with right generator on back wheels right gearing to generator with regen braking and plug in if needed.It can be done. Its the oil campanys that would stop that from coming true.