Ford CEO: Tesla-Like Long-Range Electric Car Is “Consistent With Our Product Philosophy”

2015 Ford Focus Electric

NOV 25 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 43

2015 Ford Focus Electric

2015 Ford Focus Electric

Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla Model S P85D

Ford CEO Mark Fields says that a full-size, high performance electric car with long range like the Tesla Model S is “consistent with our product philosophy.”

Is Fields suggesting that Ford aims to take on Tesla with a Model S-competing vehicle?  While Ford could certainly make a Model S competitor, it seems unlikely that the Deraborn-based automaker would challenge Tesla anytime soon.

Per USA Today:

“Ford said it has no plan to emulate the Tesla Model S — a big, four-door hatchback sedan. But a larger vehicle of some kind, with greater range and better performance than the Focus electric, would fit Ford’s lineup and its emphasis on technology, the automaker said.”

Fields adds that Ford has the engineering and manufacturing expertise (as do all major automakers) to make a Model S clone, but instead the automaker will instead look to perhaps do a long-range BEV Fusion or maybe a Taurus.

Actually, it’s unclear what Fields is hinting at aside from what he stated larger vehicle of some kind, with greater range and better performance than the Focus electric.  Maybe a SUV?  A truck?  Who knows…At least Ford is thinking of giving us what we want: a long-range electric that’s larger than most of today’s compact and subcompact electric cars.

Source: USA Today

Categories: Ford, Tesla

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43 Comments on "Ford CEO: Tesla-Like Long-Range Electric Car Is “Consistent With Our Product Philosophy”"

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Ford Prefect

I don’t know, but a Ford Flex Electric makes a lot of sense. It’s already styled to look like it might be powered by a battery.

Mike I

Agreed. At the very least the Flex should be offered in an Energi version. However, the electric motor and battery would have to be up-sized to account for the greater vehicle size and mass. Even better, put the existing Fusion/C-Max drivetrain in the front and put a 100kW e-motor at the back. Put a battery big enough to push 150kW instantaneous power and that would be a nice vehicle. It would probably require a 20kWh battery to push that much power, so that would provide a nice AER too.

kdawg

Call it the Ford Flux 🙂

Robert

Is this the same company that makes the Focus electric without a fast charge? This is just smoke & mirrors for the press & share holders to latch onto.

Mike I

The story was that Ford was pushing CCS fast charge to go to 100kW+, so I would not count them out. They’re just taking their sweet time.

Bonaire
A Ford Fusion long range BEV is a very compelling idea. $45K or less and it would work well. $50k+ and it doesn’t work. Thing is – you are looking back. Their existing equipment in existing cars. What stops any auto maker from buying OEM parts that flow faster charge to the batteries? The one thing stopping this is the equipment from suppliers now. But 6.6 KW slow J1772 is fine for overnight home charging and DC fast charging will be effective as the infrastructure changes. All Ford need do is install DC fast chargers at all their dealerships. This is not cheap and is more of a CapEx expense than some GM Chevy dealers had to go through to get Volt certified. The point is the EV growth is not there yet. It simply is not a fast enough growing segment of the industry. They need to treat carefully with this new gas pricing model. EVs are not that hot. Even the new Tesla Model S P85D is not selling like crazy. It has a few thousand orders for US delivery in December and what would amount to about 1/5 the number for European delivery next quarter. Let’s say… Read more »
Spec9

Until they prove it, it just sounds like FUD to me. No fast-charger on their Ford Focus EV. And their PHEVs don’t even contain 16KWH batteries despite the fact that the government will pay for that larger battery with a tax-credit.

Your actions speak louder than your words.

David Murray

You can be sure the lack of battery capacity in these cars is due more to placement issues than anything else. As you mention, the tax credit will pay for more batteries at essentially no cost to the customer. But they simply don’t have any room to put more until the car is redesigned to accommodate more.

Lou Grinzo

I could not agree more strongly.

Regarding ANY car company and electrification, I have ceased to believe anything but results.

Honda and Toyota? You’ll get not one more cent of my money until you ship an EV or a serious PHEV. And in the case of Toyota, stop you absurd FUD campaign against EVs — you know, the vehicles you started a new sub-brand to sell in China.

Fiat? Mitsu? Kia? Smart? Come back when you have a reasonable EV that I can buy and get serviced locally.

Rob Stark

But Fields also said that a purpose built BEV platform is not part of Ford’s product philosophy.

So how do you get a halfassed ICEv conversion to perform like a Model S?

The answer? You don’t.

Anon

+1

Dan

Tesla seemed to to a pretty good job of a “half-assed ICEv conversion” with the Lotus Elise…

ggpa

Dan

Before you make jokes like that, research how much commonality exists between a Lotus Elite and Tesla Roadster. Would you have guessed 6%?

Dan

Offhand, I would guess a higher percentage than between the Cruze and the Volt.

But apparently, the entire exterior of the Roadster is less than 6% of the vehicle?

Raymondjram

That 6% is of the cost, not the volume. Do you believe that an eggshell is worth more than 6% of the egg inside?

Scott

I couldnt agree more. Even if you could pack more batteries in an ICE Designed car, I don’t want it. I want a purpose designed/built, full size BEV. That is part of why Tesla has been so successful.

Brian Henderson

The real question is what does Ford mean by a “long range electric car”. Not clear, or noted is that the “longer range” will be for an battery electric car. Ford’s current to “electric car”s include a full span of electrification from HEV, PHEV, to BEV. (R&D work also includes FCEVs).

I’m always suspicious to executives talking of future “electric car” concepts unless a specific drivetrain technology and all-electric range is stated as a specification.

It’s important to note that just making a longer range battery electric vehicle (BEV) is not enough. Ford will have to demonstrate they are committed by enabling highspeed DC charging and supporting public charging infrastructure.

Brian Henderson

What is more likely to be first to market:
1. A Ford BEV with a range equivalent to a Model S today? , or
2. A Tesla BEV Truck with similar features as the basic F-150?

Alonso Perez

Tough one. Model X is still in the oven and Model III is at least three years out.

A truck would have to come after that, so 2020? Ford could do a 250 mile range BEV by 2020 I think.

OTOH if the Tesla truck was based off the X it might come out sooner than anybody expects, but it would not be an F-150 equivalent. It would be a pretty decent truck though.

Jouni Valkonen

Tesla Model 3 is scheduled to be launched in late 2016 so it is only two years. This of course depends on how fast Tesla can get the Gigafactory online, because Panasonic can supply enough batteries only for Model S and X.

Of course the production queue may be more than one year long, so it may take three years before you can actually get the car delivered!

JakeY

Tesla has no plans for a truck yet, so I say #1 is actually more likely given Ford at least publicly expressed interest in building such a vehicle. I think it will depend on how far LG Chem gets with its new higher density battery chemistry (which is what most non-Tesla auto companies are depending on).

Spec9

I’m going to go with #1. And I don’t think Ford has plans for one right now but they might be forced to make one.

I don’t see the truck market being a priority for EVs any time soon. Their aerodynamics suck and the buyers of pick-up trucks . . . let’s just say it is not really a very progressive customer base. (I know there are a few people that would want a pick-up EV . . . but they are probably outnumbered by people that want a coal-rolling diesel truck.)

Anon

Ford wanted “Model E” so bad, they refused to let Tesla have it…

WTF is Ford gonna do with the name? They don’t act like they’re going to have much in the way of purpose-built BEVs in any near-term timeframe. 😛

Automaker PR Press Releases are a dime a dozen.

QCO

Ford already uses the “E” designation on a vehicle, so they were obligated to protect the trademark. Has nothing to do with EVs.

Scott

Model “E”…. Seriously, that by itself means nothing. Why FORD made a stink about that is beyond me. I have been a strong FORD customer for many years and stand behind the company but that move causes me to lose respect.

QCO

Well remember a similar issue arose when Ferrari wanted to name their anniversary vehicle the F150, meaning Ferrari at 150 years.

Just a letter and numbers, but as a trademark it had to be defended. Until Ford relinquishes the E series (E150 and related) trademarks, or lets them lapse, their lawyers must defend it.

That’s normal business practice, regardless of which industry we’re in.

ffbj

Hmmm! Sounds vaguely familiar. Sherman into the wayback machine.

Bill Howland
HAHA, that Edsal Story was great! The kicker for me is the management at that time seems more intelligent then current managements!! What went wrong? Besides all the jokes about what the front center of the car looks like, many things should have seemed silly at the time but someone up the chain must have been too afraid to rock the boat. Some things never change…. Two big items for failure seem clear with the passage of time, even in a car that predates me…. 1). The car was ‘over=marketed’. People just didn’t get that excited about it, and wouldn’t pay the extra premium. 2). The Chairman said so himself – the Edsal’s reliability will make or break the car. EX: When that Tele-touch transmission controller was unreliable, this would leave the driver stranded. The motor operated shifter just solved a marketing whim, but didn’t do anything a shift lever could do all by itself, with flawless repeatability. GOOD IDEA, but poor execution. So its a cautionary tale for all you designers and marketers of new products. Even well thought out visions will fall flat if the execution is not similarly well thought out. That brings to mind a car… Read more »
ffbj

I remember seeing 2 of them when I was around 11 or 12. People would turn and look and point, but not in a good way. Oh it’s an Edsel, they said with disdain. Sure it got a bad rap, pretty much deserved, and things went downhill from there.
Funny in the space of 1 year you have probably the most loved of cars the ’57 Chevy and then the universally reviled ’58 Edsel.
Epic Failure.

Bill Howland

I find it extremely interesting that OTHER manufacturers PERFECTED some major Ideas in the Edsel, for instance that ‘push button transmission’.

Both the 1960 DODGE and Rambler (forrunner of American Motors) both had MECHANICAL push button automatic transmission controls (surprisingly, much more reliable than the electric ‘servo’ method Ford used).

Ahem, such modern convenience features made it all the way into my Tesla Roadster, which has ‘retro’ push button ‘automatic transmission’ controls.

QCO

The Chrysler push button transmission worked very well…. Because it was a mechanical solution built by a company full of mechanical engineers.

Back in the 50’s the electrical types were not well respected and therefore relegated to lights and AM radios. Even the ignition system was essentially mechanical.

Edsel servo drive had no hope….

ffbj

Yeah a cool innovation. I had ’64 Dodge with push button transmission. Never had a problem with it. Of course mine did not have dual hemi, but it looked a lot this:

mustang_sallad

I wonder if “long-range EV” could simply mean PHEV. I’m guessing PHEV with bigger and better integrated battery and DCFC capability.

Bill Howland

I would gather Fields is much more worried about his big aluminum F-150 changeout succeeding with the Truck Buying Public than worrying about fringe ev markets.

Since the Caddy Escalade Hybrid already has 2 electric motors in it, I see no reason why GM shouldn’t maket a ‘volticized’ Escalade since all they have to do is shoehorn about 48 kwh of battery (and 2 or 3 of their 3300 watt chargers) into the vehicle.

Hell, let it run exactly the same way as the Hybrid does now, except let the first 100 miles be mostly gas free.

I would doubt the weight of 48 kwh of modern battery would make a significant difference in performance of a vehicle this huge. And it would be one market segment they’d have to themselves for a while. They’d sell more than they think they would since there is no competition.

George Bower

As it should be Bill.
If you run the numbers, the new all aluminum F150 cuts CO2 emissions more than a Tesla model S.

ModernMarvelFan

Are you sure?

The combined MPG is only about 2mpg better than a similar truck.

Overall, yes, due to the large sales number of the trucks (500K vs. 30K). But on per car basis, that is NOT true.

The 2mpg improvement for a 12K mile/year only saves about 90 gallons per truck per year.

A Model S is saving 480 gallons of gas over a similar sized 25mpg car.

Of course, the Model S emission is NOT completely zero and it depends on the source of electricity. But it certainly saves more gas on “per car basis”.

Mike

For every 6 gallons of gas not burned up, there’s the additional 1 gallon of gas not needed to Make the 6 gallons of gas.
So, 6 = 7.

Mike

So, that’s 480 + 80 = 560.
Gallons 480 not needed for transportation.
Gallons 80 not needed for refinery processing.

Dan

Well, on a “per car” basis, you’re right. But that pretty much ignores the point, which is that a small CO2 savings in a truck with 7-digit sales volume is much more significant than a big CO2 savings in a car with 5-digit sales volume.

ggpa

7-digits?? Me thinks you are exaggerating.

Or you reporting F-150 sales over a period longer than 1 year

😉

QCO

I tend to look at this more pragmatically.

Ford knows were the market is going and that they must be there to be competitive. It seems they are looking for a spot to make a meaningful impact that best leverages their main markets (which doesn’t include $80k cars).

Ford put out the Focus Electric as an experiment to gain EV experience. And anyone who has suffered SSN issues knows they are learning quite a bit about EV cabling problems. Presumably this experience will help them build a better mainstream higher volume EV.

A Fusion or similar EV with good range at a fair price would be a good offering and potentially competitive with Model 3. But it has to wait a couple of years until battery pricing is right, hence their caginess.

Lou

I think that a Fusion with a 200 mile battery and some version of QC would be a big seller, if the cost did not run into the Model S 60 range. In fact a car like that is probably similar to what Elon would like to put out as the Model III. Right now, Tesla has that larger EV sedan market locked up and only if/when battery pricing comes down significantly can I imagine another OEM challenging them.

Raymondjram

Ford has to get into the BEV market sooner, and the Focus is just one car. The Fusion Energi version has a low EV range. If Ford can add more range to this Energi version (up to 40 miles), it can compete better against the other plug in hybrids, both domestics and imports.