Ford’s Farley Wants To Build More Affordable Electric Compacts

Ford’s Farley Wants To Build More Affordable Electric Compacts

Jim Farley has officially been in charge of Ford for one month now, and he’s already making big sweeping statements that have a lot of impact on the future of the blue oval. In a recent discussion with Wards Auto, Farley indicated that — perhaps as an attack on GM’s super expensive Hummer EV — Ford isn’t in the game of building six-figure EVs for the elites. His plan involves a full suite of electric Fords ranging from $US20,000 ($27,912) to $US70,000 ($97,692), including compacts for the every person.

Ford hasn’t sold an electric car in the U.S. since the Focus Electric went out of production in 2018. Even then it was a half-assed effort, with production peaking at 1,964 units in 2014. Of course, that may have had something to do with the Focus Electric’s starting price of $US29,995 ($41,861) (it had initially been $US39,995 ($55,817), but Ford lowered the MSRP ten grand by 2015). It was a lot of money for a Focus.

No manufacturer has introduced an EV in the States for less than thirty thousand dollars yet, and I would say that the first to do so will have a proper hit on their hands. With the electric Transit commercial van to be unveiled shortly, the Mustang Mach-E to launch next year, and talk of an all-electric F-150, Ford seems to be going all-in on regular use EVs rather than vanity projects for the ultra wealthy. That seems to be a laudable strategy, and one that I appreciate.

The current bargain of the new EV world is the Mini Cooper SE, which kicks off the market at $US30,750 ($42,915). Mini says the Cooper SE has been flying off the shelves faster than it can build them, and the current waiting list has consumers taking delivery in mid-2021. If that’s what happens when you build a reasonably affordable compact EV, just imagine what happens when you build one with a seriously cheap price tag. If Ford can actually deliver a $US20,000 ($27,912) EV, federal credits and state incentives could potentially see consumers driving out with a brand new car around half that price.

“We are not going after the $US100,000 ($139,560)-plus market. These are affordable vehicles,” Farley says. “We’re talking about these vehicles being 10%-plus of the revenue pool in North America at their price.”

Ford is working on retooling four of its North American assembly plants for electric car production, including the River Rouge facility in Dearborn, Michigan and the Oakville Assembly facility in Ontario, Canada which currently produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus. That plant won’t be completed with its revamp until 2024, and the first EVs will roll out in 2025, so that’s still some time off.

There’s no telling what this compact $US20,000 ($27,912) EV might be, as Ford doesn’t currently sell any compact cars in the U.S. market. Perhaps it will be based on the replacement for the ageing Ecosport? In any case, I wouldn’t expect it for at least a few years. Certainly well after the electric F-150, which must certaily be considered a priority for Ford.