Ford EV sales rose 38% in 2016, helping Ford claim 18% of the US market for electrified cars. Sales growth was led by the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which recorded a 63% increase in sales compared to 2015. The growth in Ford EV performance comes even though all of the company’s EV offerings are sedans, a segment of the market that is shrinking in this era of low gas prices and surging demand for crossovers, SUVs, and light trucks.
Ford has big plans to expand the number of EV models it offers its customers over the course of the next several years. It says it will bring an all electric SUV with at least 300 miles of range in the near future. It’s current lineup includes the Fusion Hybrid, C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Focus Electric, and Fusion Energi. Ford sold a total of 23,895 EVs last year.
Compared to its total sales for the year, the number of EVs in the mix may look small, but the uptick in sales belies CEO Mark Fields’ assertions that nobody wants to buy electrified cars. Fields is on record as saying high fuel economy standards will rob America of 1,000,000 manufacturing jobs, a rather odd statement for the head of one of the world’s largest car companies to make. No wonder many people think the biggest obstacle to an electric car future is the negative attitudes of car company executives.
On a percentage basis, the spurt in sales proves otherwise. Recent studies indicate that Americans really are interested in more efficient vehicles that pollute less and use precious resources more wisely. The Consumer Federation of America finds strong support for such cars despite historically low prices at the pump.
Yesterday, a group of senior Republican leaders proposed a carbon tax that would do away with all such burdensome regulations but add 38 cents to the price of a gallon of gas. If that happened, the frenzy for large, thirsty vehicles would likely cool down and demand for EVs increase. Will the proposal get traction with members of Congress? Don’t bet on it. Americans are perfectly willing to see the EPA gutted and public education turned into a mockery, but pay extra for gas? Them’s fightin’ words, cousin.