Next Ford Focus Electric will stick with 100-mile range

Blue Oval doesn't see the need to extend Focus EV range to 200 miles.

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Despite longer-range electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt on the way, Ford is sticking with what it knows, saying that it still thinks the EV sweet spot is more like 100 miles than 200. The Blue Oval's Ford Focus Electric Vehicle, which has a 76-mile single-charge range, is getting a boost to about 100 miles this fall, Automotive News says, citing comments Ford executive Kevin Layden made at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week. Most interesting, the company doesn't have plans to increase that range any further anytime soon.

Ford still thinks the EV sweet spot is more like 100 miles than 200.

This issue is cost and weight, and how batteries that can supply a 200-mile single-charge range play into those figures. With Ford selling the Focus EV for less than $30,000, the company is likely looking to keep the MSRP in that range for the 2017 model-year version. Layden justifies that strategy by saying that a 100-mile range satisfies a "big chunk of the population."

Whether folks are willing to trade another 100-odd miles of range for an extra $6,000 or so remains to be seen. The Bolt, also set to debut this fall, will have a 200-mile range and a price tag of about $37,500. Tesla is promising a 215-mile range for about $35,000 with the Model 3 that was first shown off to the public late last month. And Nissan is talking about boosting the range of its next-generation Leaf to at least 200 miles in 2018. Ford isn't alone, though. Hyundai has said its upcoming Ioniq EV will have a single-charge range of 110 miles, showing a growing bifurcation when it comes to production EVs and single-charge ranges.

In late 2014, Ford shaved $6,000 off the price of the Focus EV to bring it under $30,000. Still, the model remains in the low-volume category, as Ford moved just 1,717 Focus EVs last year, down 21 percent from a year earlier. Through March, Ford has sold 257 Focus EVs this year.

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