Mach 1: Ford EV Future
Admittedly, Ford hasn’t quite gotten the hang of the electric vehicle craze yet. They have a few alternative energy vehicles. There’s the Ford C-Max, Ford’s hybrid hatchback. Wait, you don’t know about the C-Max? Well, don’t feel bad. No one on this side of the Atlantic knows about the C-Max or its impressive 5.7L/100km city rating. Of similar anonymity is a true Ford EV, the Focus Electric.
Ford EV: Focus Electric
Yes, Ford currently offers a battery-powered version of the popular Focus sedan. The 2018 Focus Electric has a decent driving range of 185 km. That’s perfect for emissions-free, urban driving, but you live rurally or need to travel on the highway, you may feel a bit limited. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf gets 242 km of range on single charge. But both compact EVs are crushed by the impressive Chevy Bolt which gets an estimated 383 kilometres of range.
In Ford’s defense, it manufacturers the best-selling vehicle in North America, the F-150. The pickup delivers untold truckloads of profit. And, if you were wondering, the venn diagram of environmentalists and F-150 drivers have few points of convergence. So, the incentive for the brand to pivot aggressively toward battery-powered vehicles hasn’t been tremendous. And Ford’s not alone.
Of 17 million electric vehicles sold in 2016, Canada accounted for 11,060. Of the nearly 2 million vehicles sold in Canada that year, that’s a meagre 0.57%. And the United States isn’t much better. During the same year, electric vehicles accounted for 159,000 of 17.55 million car sales. That’s only 0.91%. If you’re curious, China is buying half of the world’s electric vehicles. Clearly, customers haven’t demonstrated a willingness to ditch fossil fuels. On the other hand, most automakers haven’t given them a compelling reason to do so. But that’s changing.
Right now, Ford is in the midst of investing of $11 billion in 24 hybrid and 16 electric vehicles that will arrive within the next decade. We’ll see a hybrid Mustang, Hybrid F-150, and even an autonomous EV without steering wheels or pedals. But one of the most ambitious recipients of Ford’s green investments is the recently announced Mach 1.
Although the Ford Mach 1 borrows its name from a performance variant of the 1969 Ford Mustang, it’s actually a high-powered SUV. That has annoyed some people who would love to see a (metaphorically) green Mustang accelerating like a Tesla Model S. But letting a crossover headline the new Ford EV portfolio actually makes perfect sense. In a few short years, SUVs have become vastly more popular than cars (even though marketing is the only thing separating hatchbacks and some CUVs). Plus, based on the teaser video released by Ford, it wants to synthesize the vintage Mustang bite with the Explorer’s pragmatism. Offering a fun SUV with a big electric range and landing before major competitors could have massive implications for Ford.