With its latest generation of EcoBoost engines, plug-in drivetrains, and Internet-connected infotainment systems, Ford wants the world to know it is working toward safer, more informed, and greener cars.
But one reporter went slightly off-message at a recent event, asking Executive Chairman Bill Ford when the automaker would make an all-electric Mustang Shelby GT500.
“It’ll be a while,” responded Ford. “A 600-horsepower electric vehicle might be able to get from here to the end of the room.”
As Forbes’ Todd Woody recounted, however, Ford didn’t entirely dismiss the possibility.
“As batteries get better and the technology develops, we never say never,” Ford explained.
“I must say I average my guilt by having a bunch of Mustangs and by having the first production electric vehicle also," Ford's chairman admitted. "Some day you’ll be able to have it all.”
The question came during a press event to mark the opening of Ford's Silicon Valley technology center, dedicated to harnessing the best green and tech minds in Silicon Valley.
Bill Ford’s own attitude towards electric cars mirrors that of the family company, and that of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, but high-performance production and prototype plug-in cars are hardly a futuristic thing.
2013 Ford Shelby GT500
2013 Ford Shelby GT500
What of the Tesla Roadster, whose production has just finished? How about Rimac?
Or the host of prototypes for production cars we’ve seen from mainstream makers like Porsche, Audi, and Infiniti?
And the idea of an all-electric Ford muscle car isn’t exactly new either.
Way back in 2008, a pair of all-electric Fords made it to the 34th Annual Toyota GP in Long Beach, California.
While the Tjaarda EVX Mustang and HST Shelby Cobra EVX each had only 300 horsepower under the hood, both cars packed 1,000 foot-pounds of torque at 0 rpm--far more than today's Mustang Shelby GT500.
Performance figures? The slower Tjjarda EVX Mustang reached 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, going on to a top speed of 120 mph. When driven sensibly, it managed over 100 miles per charge.
Meanwhile, the more powerful HST Shelby Cobra EVX managed 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds--faster than any Tesla Roadster--and topped out at 150 mph.
Admittedly, at offering prices of $80,000 and $125,000 respectively, neither car was cheap. Nor could their top speed match the gasoline Mustang Shelby GT500, whose 600-hp V-8 can power it past 200 mph.
Perhaps one day Ford's engineers will see the light (so to speak) and start to tap the awesome torque and lightning acceleration of battery-powered performance cars.
Then the only challenge left will be to convince their customers.