Bill Ford suggests Ford wants EVs to embrace performance

Bill Ford suggests Ford wants EVs to embrace performance
It’s no secret that Ford is working on a Mustang-inspired electric crossover, possibly to be called the “Mach E” or maybe “Mach-E,” that will have a range of more than 300 miles, and it reportedly showed it to top dealers during the Blue Oval’s annual confab last fall in Las Vegas.

But a comment Monday from Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. highlights a shift in how the company views EVs going forward, and suggests that a performance-oriented crossover EV may be closer to the norm than an outlier.

“When we first started talking about electrification, there was this thought that there had to be a tradeoff: It was either going to be green and boring and no fun, or really exciting but burn a lot of fossil fuels,” Automotive News quoted Ford as saying during a luncheon event. “Electrification has come to the point that you can do both.”

That represents a significant evolution in the automaker’s thinking from its first go-round on electric vehicles, represented by the likes of the Focus Electric and the C-Max plug-in hybrid. Both focused more on maximizing fuel economy than horsepower, and both are now discontinued. That’s left Ford relatively bereft of electrified options — though the Fusion Energi PHEV lives on, for now — at a time when it’s ramping up efforts around EVs via its new Team Edison unit and is feeling pressured by Wall Street to demonstrate that it has a solid vision for electrification, among other things.

Beyond the battery-electric crossover, which arrives in 2020, we know that Ford is already planning a hybrid Mustang for 2020 and is mulling the idea of an all-electric variant of the venerable pony car. It’s also working on an all-electric version of its best-selling F-150.

Pairing electrification with the kind of muscle traditionally reserved for big, thirsty combustion engines is hardly a novel strategy these days. It’s practically Rivian’s raison d’être, and it has echoes in EVs like the next-generation Tesla Roadster and the upcoming Porsche Taycan. It just might be a smart bet by Ford, and it could also be one reason that its partnership talks with Volkswagen, while reportedly nearing fruit on developing self-driving vehicles, are struggling to find common ground for teaming on EVs.

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