Ford is developing a long range electric vehicle that is set to take on the models already developed by the likes of Chevrolet and Tesla.
Ford’s intention to produce an improved electric car model were signalled by CEO Mark Fields during the company’s recent 2016 first quarter earnings conference call, with the automotive giant reporting its best quarter ever first quarter pre-tax profit of US$3.8bn (up $2.1bn from a year ago).
During the call, Mr Fields suggested that Ford is preparing to enter the affordable electric vehicle market by producing a rival which would be competitive with the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, both of which offer a 200 mile (320km) range .
The new Ford electric vehicle could be called the Model E and would most likely be offered as a traditional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric vehicle. The US car manufacturer is expected to start assembling it in 2019 at a new plant in Mexico.
Ford owns the trademark to the “Model E” name after registering it with the US Patent and Trademark Office in December 2013. Tesla also wanted to trademark its electric vehicles as Model E, but abandoned its application after Ford refused to relinquish the rights to the name.
Ford not new to the electric vehicle
Ford currently offers the Focus Electric which has a range of 76 miles and the 2017 Ford Focus Electric is expected to have an all-electric range of about 100 miles.
Nevertheless, despite currently offering only about half the range of the Chevrolet and Tesla alternatives, the Ford CEO said his company wanted to lead the way in offering a new era of long-range battery-powered and hybrid vehicles.
“Ford wants to be among the leaders or in a leadership position, and clearly that’s something we’re developing for,” he said.
Fields announced in December that Ford would spend $4.5bn to add 13 hybrid or electric vehicles to its line-up by 2020.
With the production of its as yet not officially named “Model E”, Ford is aiming to become a bigger player in the electric vehicle market, and is expected to target the same (US) $35,000 starting price of its rival Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle models.
As well as taking on Chevrolet and Tesla for slice of the electric vehicle market, Ford will also focus on Nissan, which plans to offer a redesigned Nissan Leaf model which will also feature a 200-mile range.