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Ford executive chairman Bill Ford closed out the 2010 SAE World Congress with a reminder: "All the early cars were electric." Why do so few people remember that electric cars date back more than a hundred years? Ford suggested it's because, electric cars have "been around really for the past century or so, but they really haven't had mass market appeal." There's the answer: without mass market appeal, technologies will be forgotten.
One hundred years from now we may end up looking back and saying the same thing; Hey, do you remember those electric things they called cars that were around for a few years? Nope, do you? The answers will be entirely different if this second coming of the electric car is a success, a point that Ford appears committed to.

An endorsement from one of the world's largest automakers is reassuring. Ford spoke about his company's future and it was blatantly clear that electric vehicles are vitally important:
It appears that the biggest game changer will be electric vehicles. Our plan includes the introduction of five new high-mileage vehicles. The majority of our efforts are aimed at fuel economy leadership. We want to provide affordable fuel economy for million of customers
Ford closed out the speech by stating that technology has come a long way since electric vehicles' (EVs) first go around and said he strongly believes that today's EVs can and will become a mainstream product rather than just an object of lustful desire for the few. If he's right, one hundred years from now we may be asking: Hey, do you remember when gasoline powered our cars? Nope, do you?

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great statement. Looks like a 'go' from Ford. They're now believers; they won't
      stop at the Focus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Doing a little Googling found that Ford was anticipating making 5,000 to 10,000 for the first couple of years.

        http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10237614-48.html

        Unless they have drastically changed their production plans since then (with battery production its hard to change quickly), the Electric Focus is a PR campaign... :-(
      • 5 Years Ago
      STOP TALKING ABOUT IT AND BUILD THE BLOODY THINGS ALREADY!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Shhhh.... it's late and people are trying to sleep.
      • 5 Years Ago
      2 things.

      1. good, I'm glad to see that Ford sees electric cars as a real alternative to gas.
      &
      2. Is it just me, or does Bill Ford look like Troy Aikman's twin.

      http://adamcarolla.com/SHBlog/wp-content/gallery/2010-02-06-ep-112/05-troy-aikman.jpg
        • 5 Years Ago
        You just need those special glasses to see them...and they want us to get off oil!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bill Ford == Troy Aikman

        Aha! More proof that we have been infiltrated by, and are now slaves of, a master Lizardoid alien race! They have a limited number of pseudo human skin designs and you've caught them using one of them too often...

        I'm going to cinch my tinfoil hat down a little tighter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The future is EV auto and Solar Panels.
      More efficient engines, batteries and panels, changes the transportation paradigm. Whoever first mass markets the components wins.

      Secondly, FORD could do more on the price side to bring the cost of EV and Hybrid components down. Until I see FORD make a real effort to acquire marketshare I don't see them as more then 4th or 5th place.

      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seems Mr Ford expects the transition to EVs to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. I think he is right. The ICE industry isn't going down without a fight. It's easy to be impatient, but there is huge inertia to overcome. The technology is catching up, but it will take years for the transition, but hopefully not decades as some are predicting.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Yes, their is much inertia to overcome. I get tired of hearing all the problems ICE producers come up with for not producing EV's. I see through them because I have driven a EV for a while, about a year now. I see how well they will cope with everyday driving with lion batteries. My pack will only do 120 - 130 mile range. If it would do 220 -230 range I would not hesitate to go across country using 220V chargers only.
        I am certainly one of the impatient ones. Your outlook is very realistic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        250 km range .... 10 minute recharge ..... 40 year battery life ..... performs well at -30 degrees .... costs the same as a Nissan Leaf ..... that's what battery tech will be offering in a couple years. I predict Nissan to be shattering the naysayers.
        harlanx6
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        What war with Iran? What peak oil? I sure don't see any oil shortage! Do you actually believe all the crap you read? Don't you realize you are being brainwashed?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        "but there is huge inertia to overcome"

        a. war with Iran

        b. 2015 oil peak

        Pick your inertia killer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        the reason the douche might be right is because they decide what will happen. but future events will force his dumbass hand
      • 5 Years Ago
      Still, it's nice to see Fo-Mo-Co on board. I actually see some value to the Fusion Hybrid, but, pure all-electric is better. The Focus is one they're concentrating on making all-electric? I'd rather they do an all-electric Fusion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The Focus is one they're concentrating on making all-electric? I'd rather they do an all-electric Fusion."

        Weight is the big one here. They could do an electric Fusion but it would cost alot more for the batteries you'd need for that heavy a vehicle - significantly more than a e-Focus. The batteries are just that expensive. That's why all the mass market EV's (at least initially) will be with small cars - if you can afford alot more then you can go look at the Tesla S which is bigger.

        The other thing is that Magna brought the e-Focus concept to Ford (not at Ford's behest), as an "instant EV" that Ford could buy and put into production quickly.

        If it was up to Ford to engineer this from the start, I'm sure they would have chosen the Fiesta platform to save some more weight and make things a little cheaper.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally some good news...this sound promising...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems to me Ford is talking out of both sides of it's mouth. In the quote Mr Ford mentions EV's for greenery but instead says, "The majority of our efforts are aimed at fuel economy leadership. We want to provide affordable fuel economy for millions of customers"

      He did not mention producing millions of EV's. Seems like Mr Ford and the oil minister of Saudi Arabia have the same goals, produce more fuel efficient ICE. Saudi Arabia is working on fuel efficiency and they would give any innovations they make to Ford in order that people keep purchasing oil here in the USA. They will not easily switch to EV's, they will play this ICE game to the hilt simply because that is where the money is at. Only when Ford is hit with steeply declining sales of their efficient ICE will they turn to EV's to make revenue. In other words when they have no choice because the customer demands EV's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I saw that, too - they know where the future is, so then why not make it now? Maybe he's referring to the PHEVs Ford is developing? Maybe he's delusional and thinks the Jetsons were real?

        Given the urgency of energy efficiency (which automatically excludes all ICEs), this is too slow and too much double-talk. Building upon the success of the Escape hybrid, they could have hybridized many more of their vehicles by now, including the Taurus and Edge, not just the Fusion. The gas savings are incredible. After 1,200 miles, my 2010 Mariner hybrid is getting 39.0mpg! That's truly remarkable for a mid-sized SUV. While doing that, they could have gone on to EV production more heavily. Instead, they are screwing around with turbocharged engines, although very good, are not nearly as efficient as their hybrid drivetrain.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To be fair, my driving is about 85% 25, 35, 40 and 45 mph zones, with a freaking crapload of traffic lights. That plays to a hybrid's strengths. Also, as I learn the thresholds on pressing the gas pedal, etc., I can get it to run all-electric more often than if I didn't pay attention.

        If I wanted to hypermile and never exceed 44mph (the limit for electric-only operation), pull out real slow from green lights, etc., then I could get over 40mph easily.

        If I had more fluid driving with higher speed limits, like my parents do where they live and drive a 2009 Escape hybrid, they are averaging about 35mpg after 8 months of ownership and over 10k miles.

        I agree that it drives "heavy". I expected that. Everything feels heavy after driving a Scion xA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's computed on my own, based on the odometer reading and the gallons off the pump display.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am glad you are having fun getting 39 mpg in your Mariner. That is super good mileage, makes me want to sell my Silverado and get one. Your vehicle and the Escape are heavy vehicles which adds to the ride. I drove a Escape hybrid one time and though it drove heavy but I liked it. 39 miles per gallon in a SUV, damn good. My 05 Silverado 4wh, 4door gets like 15 mpg in town.
        Some one posted here about the computers not being accurate when stating mpg. My Vette gets 30 mpg hwy but that is what the computer says, I have not computed it myself.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well if Ford is so committed then why are they still outsourcing their EV work? Talk is cheap - actions speaker louder than words.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford didn't even create the Focus EV in house. Magna (an enterprising Canadian auto parts supplier) decided they'd create an entire EV from a "guts" level that a manufacturer could drop into their small car designs relatively easily and present this "Instant EV" option to large manufacturers. They chose a Focus initially because it fit their design requirements.

        Then after they created it, they presented it to Ford (and planned on presenting the option to other manufacturers) and Ford (since they didn't have a small car EV coming) jumped at the chance (smart move) - otherwise they wouldn't have an EV. Hopefully they make more than a token amount.

        Ford said they might bring production in house if demand warrants (insert roll of eyes here)...the more things change the more they stay the same. Back in the late 90's Ford sat out developing an EV (they bet on derailing the EV legislation which eventually happened) and had to buy Think to get an EV for California.

        Here's an article that details the Focus EV development out. Hopefully they did some serious engineering with Magna and didn't just fill the trunk with batteries as its a truly beautiful car.

        http://money.cnn.com/2009/03/20/autos/ford_electric/index.htm
        • 5 Years Ago
        Perhaps because it makes more financial sense to them. Just because you outsource some components does not mean you are not committed. Ford still has a huge amount of debt they need to pay off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla,
        Ford did build around 1,500 Ford Ranger EVs from 1998-2002, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Ranger_EV
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well I hear what you're saying. But consider two things: Ford ditched the EV program in the late 90s and is way behind Nissan in terms of putting a production EV on the street. They just don't seem committed to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I heard it mentioned at the sales launch of the VW 1L
      • 5 Years Ago
      When I said "all ICEs" I should have said "all petroleum-based fuels" which of course would include natural gas and any hydrogen made from fossil fuels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My friends just purchase a new Mazda 3. They sure did put many interior lights in it.
        Their new Mazda is rated 22 city 29 hwy. Hard to belive your SUV puts that little car to shame in MPG. The Mazda is a nice little car, I would have thought Mazda could have done a little better with the MPG's. 0% financing for 5 years was the deal maker.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I always get the feeling that if things were really up to Bill Ford Jr., Ford would be running down the hybrid and EV path alot quicker. Unfortunately he is not in a position to do much as far as that goes (other than lobby the execs and board).

      Hopefully his view of EV's reflect the rest of the executive suite (although I wouldn't bet on that - Ford didn't have that Focus EV coming, Magna came up with that on their own and offered it Ford).
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