The only all-electric cars that Ford currently sells are compliance cars built on existing gas-powered platforms. Earlier this year, the automaker announced that its first all-electric car built to be electric from the ground up will come out in 2020.
Raj Nair, Ford’s Chief Technology Officer, now says that the vehicle will be mass-produced, hinting that it will not be a compliance car, and priced affordably.
There’s no doubt that Ford is late to market when it comes to long-range electric vehicles. Its biggest competitor, GM, already has the Chevy Bolt EV, but where Ford could differentiate itself is with a high-volume electric car – something the Bolt EV is not.
In an interview with Business Insider this week, the CTO emphasized that the vehicle will be “mainstream”:
“To get electrification volumes where we would all like them to be we have to make sure we make the affordability targets or otherwise they are going to stay as a niche item or a pure luxury item,”
The all-electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is expected to be available in 2020. While it is not expected to be the only mass-market all-electric vehicle at that time, several other automakers are still only planning low-volumes for EVs on the same timeline.
Also differentiating itself from other EVs, Nair is promising a longer range than the current competition:
“We think we have a technology path that will get us a 300 plus miles range and an affordable crossover utility that will be fully competitive,”
In the crossover/small SUV space, Tesla is also planning an entry in the segment around the same time: Tesla Model Y.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month that the vehicle is planned for 2019-2020 and that it will be built on the automaker’s next-generation platform.
When Ford announced the electric CUV, it also confirmed that it has other electric vehicles in the work, but most of them are hybrids or plug-in hybrids. They also said that there are some that remain unannounced and therefore, EV enthusiasts hope for possible good surprises on the all-electric front.
In the meantime, the CUV is planned to enter production at Ford’s Flat Rock plant in 2020 and to become available in North America, Europe and Asia.