It looks as though Tesla Motors and General Motors are about to get some competition in the 200-mile electric vehicle (EV) arena from an unlikely competitor: Ford. We say “unlikely” because just last week when announcing that the 2017 Ford Focus Electric will get a range boost from 76 miles to even 100 miles, Kevin Layden, Ford's director of electrification programs and engineering, shot down the notion that the company would produce a 200-mile EV.
"I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population," said Layden. He went on to say that the 100-mile range allowed Ford to hit targets for weight (by using lighter batteries) while keeping pricing in check.
Ford Focus Electric
This week Ford is singing a different tune, stating that it in fact does have a 200-mile range EV in development that will take on the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. That revelation also explains why Ford denied Tesla some passionate “SEX” — the storied American automotive company wants to keep the “Model E” name for itself.
When asked about bringing out a car to directly compete with the Model 3 and Bolt, Ford CEO Mark Fields said, “Clearly that’s something we’re developing for.” Fields went on to say that he wants Ford to be “among the leaders or in a leadership position” when it comes to electrifying vehicles.
Tesla Model 3
Ford currently has a pending trademark for the Model E name and will likely put the vehicle into production by 2019. By that time, the Bolt will have been on the market for three years, while Model 3 production should be well under way (that’s if Tesla’s notorious launch delays haven’t already struck by then).
For those keeping score, the 2016 Ford Focus Electric has a starting price of $29,170 before federal and state incentives, which undercuts the $35,000 Model 3 and the $37,500 Bolt. Consumers, however, haven’t shown much interest in the Focus Electric, as only 257 examples were sold during the first three months of 2016.