UPDATE 2:02 p.m. EST: Ford spokesman Said Deep scotched rumors Thursday that Ford is developing a new small electric car. “We do not comment on speculation,” he said. “But we can confirm that these reports are not accurate.”
Original story begins here:
Ford is rumored to be developing an electric car with a 200-mile range. The vehicle would be the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker's answer to General Motors’ planned Chevrolet Bolt. If this proves true, the car would travel twice as far on a charge than the electric version of the Ford Focus hatchback.
“It’s reported that Ford’s new EV will formally bow at the L.A. Auto Show late this year,” said Craig Cole, associate editor for AutoGuide.com. The Los Angeles auto show takes place in November. If Ford is planning to debut a long-range electric vehicle that soon, the car is already well under development.
General Motors in January unveiled a pre-production concept version of the Chevrolet Bolt that aims to quell so-called range anxiety, the worry consumers have that they'll run out of power before finding a place to plug in and recharge. It’s widely held that electric cars won’t gain traction in the market until they can travel longer distances per charge at a price more consumers can afford. The Tesla Model S get as much as 265 miles per charge, thanks to its unique battery pack of high-energy Panasonic cells. But the range comes at a prohibitive cost for most people.
Electric cars remain a small part of the industry with a market share of less than 1 percent, supported through tax incentives that attract buyers and fuel economy mandates that nudge manufacturers toward electric vehicle development. As a result, the market is growing slowly as companies develop more appealing electric cars in both the luxury segment dominated by Tesla and the mainstream marketplace ruled by Nissan.
It would make sense for Ford to advance its electric car initiative, but instead of building an electric car from scratch it could also simply advance the technology of its current electric Focus to boost its range.
The Focus plug-in hatchback has not been well received since it became available in 2012. The company sold fewer than 2,000 of them last year in the U.S., compared with more than 6,000 BMW i3 electric cars and more than 30,000 Nissan Leafs.
The Leaf is automotive history’s bestselling all-electric car and it leads the small-EV pack in range, at 84 miles. In December, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said a future Leaf would have a range of about 250 miles, and Nissan has been testing a new 48 kWh battery pack at its facility in Barcelona, double the current capacity.
With Nissan (along with its strategic partner, Renault), General Motors and Tesla all working toward a small electric car for the masses – that the masses would want to buy – it would be no surprise to see Ford showing up at Los Angeles in November with some next-generation small electric car. But for now, a new Ford electric car remains a rumor.