Last weekend I had the chance to meet Ford’s Director for Sustainability at the SF Green Festival. Ford had a big presence offering test rides of the range of electrified vehicles as well as have a large booth in the center of the show. The SF Green Festival is a yearly event, showing “green” products in a town that’s overly sensitive to “green” stuff. This would make that show, in the mind of Ford’s marketing, the premier place in their quest to win market share from Honda and Toyota.
While Ford has a most interesting strategy on vehicle electrification and greening the vehicle fleet, he said one thing which makes me scratch my head and realize that their strategy is giving preferential treatment to gasoline engine cars, and making electric cars second class citizens.
Ford’s strategy, The Power of Choice, is to give customers the choice of drive train. That means they’re offering gasoline, echo boost, hybrid, etc versions of the same car. The goal is that at the factory it’s the same manufacturing line, just install different drive trains.
This is a way cool strategy that results in a greater range of electrification more quickly than otherwise. But …
He described the battery development goal as developing a battery pack offering a 100ish mile range in the same size/weight as the gasoline tank. That way they just install a battery pack rather than gasoline tank.
That sounds cool and flexible. But it means they’re targeting a 100ish mile range for the forseeable future, AND, do not want to make mechanical design changes to their vehicles.
The current gasoline-centric mechanical design has preference at Ford rather than developing electric-centric mechanical designs.
It’s cool that this strategy results in a greater range of electrified vehicles. But it makes one wonder what they are missing by not optimizing a vehicle design for electric?
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