Ford: We Need “C- And D-Segment Vehicles That Are Very Affordable” For EVs To “Take Off”

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 26

Basically, Ford Is Saying We Need An Affordable Tesla Model S

Basically, Ford Is Saying We Need An Affordable Tesla Model S

In Pure Electric Form, For The Right Price And With Ample Range, A Fusion BEV Could Be A Smashing Success

In Pure Electric Form, For The Right Price And With Ample Range, A Fusion BEV Could Be A Smashing Success

Finally, a top executive at a leading automaker has discovered the well-known-to-us formula for electric car success.

Jim Buczkowski, Ford’s director of electrical and electronics systems/research and innovation, tells Ward’s Auto at the SAE 2014 Convergence electronics conference:

“With gas prices going down, that’s a problem. People are looking at value.”

“If gas continues to go significantly below $3 a gallon, it’s not going to make electric vehicles more affordable.”

“I think that’s the challenge we face. We have to have C- and D-segment vehicles that are very affordable for customers to really get EVs to take off.”

Basically, we need an affordable Tesla Model S, then the EV segment will blow up.

Harald Kroeger, vice president of electrical/electronics and electric drive at Mercedes-Benz, somewhat agrees (or at least is against the current trend of stuffing batteries into small cars that have limited appeal):

“We stuff that super-expensive technology into inexpensive C-segment or below cars and wonder why customers didn’t really bite here because the customers who have a lot of money might not want to sit in a small vehicle.  I think the first big step will be to have good EVs in the upper segments.”

Again, that sound like it’s linked to Tesla.

Kroeger concluded with this battery cost prediction:

“I would bet that 10 years from now, we’re going to have cells with twice the capacity at half the price. We have the first samples in our labs at home that show me it’s true. It’s coming – it’s not just wishful thinking. In that case, an EV becomes attractive for a lot of customers.”

The battery tech is there.  Now, we just need it fitted to the proper classes of cars.  Forget the 200-mile Chevy Sonic.  Why not do a 200-mile Chevy Cruze, Malibu or Impala?

Lastly, Kroeger applauds Porsche for its efforts with the Panamera S E-Hybrid.  Kroeger says Porsche proves there’s demand for such a vehicle (10% of Panamera buyers opt for the PHEV version:

“Who would have thought that among Porsche customers 10% would care for the polar bears? That basically shows there is something out there.”

Hat tip to Anton Wahlman!!!

Source: Ward’s Auto

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26 responses to "Ford: We Need “C- And D-Segment Vehicles That Are Very Affordable” For EVs To “Take Off”"

  1. Anthony says:

    A 200 mile range Chevy Equinox or Ford Escape would likely ramp up EV adoption very quickly, assuming it was the only $5,000 to 7,500 above a gasoline car.

  2. Assaf says:

    Wait, what?

    I thought the Focus is a C-segment, as well as the (cough cough) rather affordable Nissan Leaf?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-segment

  3. Ford Prefect says:

    I could see the next generation Taurus (if that’s what it will be called) having three propulsion options on a lighter, scalable platform. Make a police pursuit EV version with DC fast charger and the car might sell in numbers both for law enforcement and the public!

    1. Perfect way to get the donut shops to install DC QC.

  4. David Murray says:

    And yet Mitsubishi is the only one producing a PHEV SUV and even that is not available in the USA.

  5. Rob Stark says:

    Model S is an F segment car.

    C segment is Focus D segment is Fusion.

    What Ford and all the legacy automakers need are dedicated C and D segment BEVs not conversions from ICE.

    Crossover twins would not hurt because crossovers are starting to eclipse sedans/hatchbacks in sales.

    Elon Musk believes the price of lithium ion batteries will drop below $100 per kWh within 10 years.

    That is the price electric powertrain manufacturing cost drop below equivalent ICE powertrains and makes the price of oil/gasoline irrelevant.

    Ford/GM/VW or any of the large automakers jumping in with two feet will help accelerate the falling prices of rechargeable batteries.

    The Nissan-Renault alliance has jumped with one foot in.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Still need lots and lots of intercity >100kW charging stations though, and Tesla’s got a pretty good headstart on picking locations..

  6. Someone out there says:

    It is true. Interestingly, the more people buys EVs the more the oil price will go down or at least not rise so EVs kind of works against itself in that respect.

    Right now is the best time for the hybrids. You get away with a much smaller expensive battery while at the same time using much less fuel. The hybrid will probably be competitive for some 10 years before pure EVs take over.

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      I think now the time of the hybrid cars is ending except for cars like the Chevy Volt.

      The reason why they are ending is the golden age of the hybrid was between 2001 and 2014. The reason why the hybrids are going to be phased out though sales declines is that existing gas cars are first getting 40 miles a gallon in some cases. At the same time you have pure EV’s and quick chargers that can meet people’s daily driving needs. Also with EV’s you can drop the need for gas all together then buying a hybrid that still needs gas.

      1. See Through says:

        I think, he meant ‘plug-in hybrids”. That said, Toyota Prius hybrid sales crossed 7 million recently.

        I drive a pure EV for commuting, but I have no animosity towards gas. Burning a bit of gas once in a while is no big deal.

    2. Cavaron says:

      In the long run maybe, but todays EVs doesn’t impact on gas price at all. It’s more like Saudi Arabia and US want to keep the oil price down because IS extremists are founding on oil. Also the Saudis may benefit from keeping the tar sand oil production, like in Kanada, not profitable with a low oil price.

  7. A Ford “top executive at a leading automaker has discovered the well-know-to-us formula for electric car success.”

    So Ford now realizes it needs to start the inclusion of battery pack into a vehicle at the design stage, not as a post-design modification. ie: Making use of a skateboard pack similar in form to Kia, Nissan and Tesla.

    “The battery tech is there. Now, we just need it fitted to the proper classes of cars”. Just do it … design a high volume C-class vehicle that has a pack that can be built in high volume.

    Lack of storage space in the Focus EV trunk (boot) is a feature missing, but there is no reason this should be the case. Also lacking is DC Quick Charging. ie: any charging AC, or DC that enables a charging rate of 20 kW, or higher. Price is not really an issue now that Ford has lowered the price by $6000.

    The Ford C-Max and Energi PHEVs are already selling in good volumes at their current price points. Price doesn’t seem to be an issue. How about Ford experimenting with offering a larger capacity battery option for these PHEVs? While the option would add costs, there are likely a group of consumers willing to pay for the added capacity and range. After all, there is a grouping group of Model S owner that have demonstrated there willingness to pay for larger capacity packs (85 kW vs. 60 kW). For a C-class, would expect options in range of 25-40 kW. Ford just needs to pick two and offer as options. 🙂

    PS:
    To Ford executives concerned about affordability and falling gas prices effecting demand for EVs …
    note: PHEV sales may decrease a bit as gas prices lower, but BEV sales have shown to remain strong regardless of gas prices. Smart buyers are focused on operating costs, not just initial purchase price. Ford executives should be too focused on reducing operating costs by offering more all-electric range options.

    1. David Murray says:

      I suspect right now the limiting factor to adding more battery to the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi is simply finding a place to put the battery. I would hope future versions of the car can fit the current battery pack underneath the car. Then maybe a longer-range trim level could put an extra battery pack in the back like they do now.

  8. James says:

    Gas prices could a buck-fifty/gal and Tesla still has that “wow” factor.

    What if the oil cartels took their artificial price per barrel way down to defeat electric cars? It’s really too late. And nicely – Tesla owners can afford gas – they just don’t want it. So the only battle is for the minds and hearts of the frugal Prius driver, and there will always be those (like me) who believe a hybrid, PHEV or BEV is a great choice – even a safety net, against that chain-and-collar of OPEC and their constantly changing prices.

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      From a economic stand point the way Peak Oil works and the cost to operate some types of oil wells. There would be no way the economically that the oil companies could do anything about trying to use falling oil prices to stop EV’s. In that if you have solar panels on your house you don’t care what oil does in that you can’t compete with free.

      1. Mike I says:

        It’s not “free” it’s utilizing sunk capital. You want to get everything out of the thing you’ve already paid for. Giving sheiks the finger is just icing on the cake.

  9. Kakkerlak says:

    It’s amazing how EV enthusiasts can distort statements like this with wishful thinking.

    Buczowski’s comment is an excuse for why Ford isn’t building or promoting more BEV models, not a claim that they intend to.

    It’s no more encouraging than Mark Fields’ comment that Ford “could” build an electric performance sedan.

    And Kroeger’s sneering comment about polar bears tells me that he’d just as soon let everyone choke on exhaust for as long as it remains profitable.

  10. Spec9 says:

    Uh . . . OK . . . so build one then. Duh.

    Start with PHEVs for the bigger sized cars, like you did, except put a 16KWH battery in there because the government tax-credit will fully pay for the battery.

    This is not rocket science Ford. Just do it.

  11. Spec9 says:

    “Who would have thought that among Porsche customers 10% would care for the polar bears? That basically shows there is something out there.”

    What a bonehead . . . look at all those Tesla Model S cars which are basically largely stolen from potential Porsche cars! Elon Musk saw the market, you didn’t. And,worse, you still seem to be confused by the fact that people are buying them!

    1. ffbj says:

      Right on! What diaphanous adumbrate, Ford is spouting.

      1. QCO says:

        Actually that was the Mercedes guy….

  12. pjwood says:

    Looks like the boardrooms weren’t invited to the “Convergence” conference.

  13. Kakkerlak says:

    Actions speak so much louder than words.

    If Ford was serious about electrification, I’d be getting e-mails from the desk of Nancy Gioia every month instead of conspiring with fellow Focus Electric drivers trying to figure out how to calculate our Level 2 energy input rates.

    We’re talking maybe seven thousand drivers of their only electric car. That’s a big fleet but not unmanageable. But all they seem to be able to do for fleet engagement is send me coupons for free oil changes.

    If Fields and Gioia wanted it, there would be a Model E sedan. They don’t, so there isn’t.

  14. QCO says:

    This isn’t that bad…. They definitely have got the message better than Sergio over at FCA.

    Both GM and Ford are now openly musing about the need for economical longer range EVs on bigger platforms, which is a clear indication that they know the Tesla Gen III is coming and its going to be a hit. They must be ready to respond and they have zoomed in on the key issue to resolve: Battery economics.

    We’ll see how well they do compared to Tesla, but good progress nonetheless….

  15. shawn marshall says:

    would love to see twice the battery capacity at half the cost. Show me that.

  16. John says:

    I am waiting for the 2020 F-150 eneri with a 40 mile EV range like the VIA Motors truck but half the price because it is lighter and batteries will be cheaper then.

    I also am waiting for an SVT all electric Mustang withe a zero to 60 time under 3.5 seconds and a 100 mile range with fast recharging.