Set to compete against the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt

For all of the advancements that automakers have made in the field of electric vehicles, one company has, somewhat surprisingly, remained in the sidelines. When it comes to electric vehicles, Ford doesn’t exactly call itself a pioneer and no more is that evident than its lineup of all-electric models, which includes plug-in versions of the Fusion and the C-Max and an all-electric version of the Focus. Solid options, sure, but none of them have really set the electric car market on fire.

All that though could change now that Ford appears to be ready to dive into the long-range EV pool. The report comes by way of Automotive News, which quoted Ford CEO Mark Fields saying that a long-range, battery-powered car is something that’s high on the list of priorities for the Blue Oval. Fields didn’t go into the specifics of the automaker’s plans, only adding that the company’s goal is to be “among the leaders or in a leadership position” in the long-range EV market.

Vague as that disclaimer is, there is some evidence that Ford has made preparations for this ideological shift, none more important than its recent announcement that it would be investing $4.5 billion into electrification. That’s a significant amount of money that could be put to good use if Ford decides to develop the technologies required to be in that sought-after “leadership position” on its own and not rely on third-party vendors as it has done in the past.

Clearly, the decision-makers in Dearborn have come around on the potential of long-range electric vehicles. It’s still got a lot of work to do to get to where it needs to be, but if the automaker is as committed as Fields says it is, it should only be a matter of time before the company’s lineup of hybrid, plug-in, and EV models get the jolt it needs to become a major player in the segment.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

You know what they say about “better late than never?” It certainly applies here, doesn’t it? With respect to Ford, but I think even the company would admit that it hasn’t been a stalwart of the EV revolution. Sure, the company said that it plans to increase the Focus Electric’s range from 76 miles to 100 miles, but even after said increase, the 100-mile range is still well short of the Chevy Bolt’s advertised range of 200 miles and hilariously off pace compared to the Tesla Model 3’s expected range of 250 to 280 miles.

To be fair, it’s not fair to Ford that we can just expect it to have a competitive product overnight. That’s not possible, no matter how much money the company throws in to try to make it happen. So let’s give credit where it’s due, delayed as it might be. Ford is now fully on board with developing EV cars and it has even zeroed in on a particular model to lead its charge. The name of the EV is Model E, which the automaker has an existing patent on. No timetable has been set for the Model E’s release, but Ford expects to begin production of the car in 2019 in its new production facility in Mexico. Once development gets going, Ford plans to create three different variants – traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric – to give the model more variety in the eyes of discerning customers who may prefer one variant over the others.

Rest assured, this is a challenge that Ford isn’t going to conquer overnight. It has put a lot of the pieces in place and it’s got the finances to see it through, but if we’re being real about it, the Blue Oval still has a long way to go before it can catch some of its rivals. That’s the price it has to pay for being late to the party, although it is still better to be late than to not show up at all.

Good for Ford that it finally showed up. Now let’s see how long it’s going to take before it gets a seat in the main table.

Ford Focus Electric

2016 Ford Focus Electric High Resolution Exterior
- image 648824

Read our full review on the Ford Focus Electric here.

Source: Automotive News

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