Ford is getting a lot of press with the introduction of their 10 small vehicles and electrification plan earlier this week at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Of course, that isn’t the only news; they also announce the all-new Ford Focus Electric at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We have also seen the introduction of the Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi (the BEV). It may seem like all of this news is a coincidence, but Nancy Gioia, director of Global Electrification at Ford, says that these releases were “all apart of the plan.”
Gioia was appointed as the director of Global Electrification at Ford on October 9, 2009. Prior to her current role, she was Ford’s director of Sustainable Mobility Technology and Hybrid Vehicle Programs for North America. Actually, Gioia joined Ford in 1982 and has held a wide variety of positions within The Ford Motor Company. This week we caught up with Gioia over the phone and asked her about all the electrification news at Ford.
According to Gioia, it is import for consumers to know that Ford “is electrifying their highest volume vehicle in the C-segment.” If you don’t speak the auto industry lingo, the C-segment is the compact car segment of the market. Of course, Gioia was speaking about the Ford Focus Electric and the fact that the company has chosen to go a slightly different direction than their competitors. Instead of electrifying a special platform like Nissan has, Ford has chosen to base their hybrid and battery electric vehicles on the global chassis designs. “This will allow Ford to make the Focus and Focus Electric on the same assembly line,” said Gioia yesterday. “By doing this we can easily flex production to match customer needs.”
Speaking of customer needs, what is the range, price and volume of the all-new Ford Focus Electric? According to Gioia the average range of the Focus Electric will be between 80-100 miles (all the standard electric vehicle range disclaimers apply here) and the charging time with the optional 240 volt charger will be between three and four hours. Price will be competitive and announced closer to launch and if you are worried about production volume, Ford anticipates it is going to be 5-10K to start. However, as Gioia said earlier they will be able to flex to customer demand.
Bottom line—Ford is working from a global and sustainable business model according to Gioia. The end goal is to provide the best possible hybrid and battery electric vehicles to the market and currently we have to say that Ford may have the edge. Now we just have to drive one.