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New Electric Car Promises from Ford (NYSE: F) are Questionable

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted April 28, 2016

Just one day after blasting Ford (NYSE: F) for coming up short on what it calls “game-changing” technology, the auto giant announced something that throws a wrench in my analysis.

Yesterday, I commented on the fact that Ford sent out a press release to tout what it called a “game-changing” technology. Some kind of improvement to the internal combustion engine that increases fuel economy by 13 percent.


This morning, I read the following in Blomberg …

Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce a long-range electric vehicle to compete with battery-powered models coming from Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co. that would go 200 miles or more on a charge.

“We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields told analysts and reporters on a conference call Thursday. “When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly, that’s something we’re developing for.” He didn’t say when Ford would start producing the vehicle.

So what are they waiting for?

I love the announcement, but I want some clarity here.

Let’s Clear Some Things Up

After writing yesterday’s piece, I received the following comment …

Whoever wrote this garbage doesn’t even know ford already makes electric cars.

Well, I know about the Ford Focus Electric.

That car launched in 2012, and offered an all-electric range of about 75 miles. That’s not bad, actually. Given the year, anyway. Pretty close to the Nissan LEAF. Although it only sold about 6,000 units by the end of 2015. Nissan sold 88,000 units of its LEAF. Ford’s Electric Focus was a bit of a dud.

Of course, that was yesterday. The question is, where are these vehicles going to be tomorrow?

When it hits the showrooms, the 2017 Ford Focus Electric will have an all-electric range of about 100 miles. This falls short of the the new Chevy Bolt – available this year – which will deliver 200 miles. It also falls short of the Tesla Model 3, which will likely deliver an all-electric range in excess of 200 miles.

It is a shame, though. The Ford Focus Electric isn’t a bad-looking car.


But if the 2017 model only offers a 100-mile range, than it’s going to have to be priced significantly lower than the Bolt and the Model 3. Right now, the Ford Focus Electric sells for about $30,000.

Still, to be fair, Ford says that by 2020, more than 40 percent of its global production vehicle models will be available with an electrified drivetrain option. Though for the sake of clarification, this doesn’t mean fully-electric. But until we see the actual vehicles, I don’t want to assume anything.

Of course, what the hell do I know?

Yesterday I called Ford out for promoting a useless technology designed to enhance an outdated internal combustion engine, instead of focusing on the real game-changing technology, which is electric vehicles.

This morning I woke up to Ford’s announcement that for Q1, the company’s net income more than doubled to $2.5 billion. The stock climbed 4% on the news.

Certainly I can’t be mad at the company for making money. But as an individual disgusted with the auto industry’s lack of interest in rapidly advancing a superior vehicle technology, I maintain that Ford is dragging its feet. I hope management proves me wrong.