Ford's entry into the electric vehicle (EV) race has not gone unnoticed. The automaker is currently ramping up on the internal level and is prepping its dealers for the arrival of the battery-powered Focus and Transit Connect vehicles. But it seems safe to say that both General Motors, with its plug-in Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan, with its all-electric Leaf, have captured the attention of the public and their roll-outs have, at times, created quite the media frenzy.
Ford, it appears, is satisfied with an out-of-the-spotlight position in the race to launch groundbreaking models. For one, this approach allows Ford to watch and learn from its competitors as they succeed, stumble along the way or possibly even fail to roll-out their game-changing models. Secondly, Ford's use of existing vehicle platforms positions the automaker in a such a way that allows for quick response if demand for EVs happens to head north or maybe even a bit south. Sue Cischke, Ford's safety and environmental affairs vice president, told Reuters, "Since they'll be out before us, we'll know a lot. We'll learn from what they're doing, how they're marketing it."
Truth be told, most automakers would probably envy Ford's out-of-the-spotlight position, but at least one company must step up and take the risk of moving forward first. Without risk takers, progress can't be made. But this time around, Ford seems happy to hand the risk off to others. Will this strategy benefit the automaker? We will get an idea once the roll-out for the Focus EV gets started.