Ford boss Jim Farley recently gave an interview about the future of the automaker, particularly electric cars. The strategy adopted by the American manufacturer is unequivocal: its future electric cars will be less “complicated” and will not necessarily have large batteries.
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A few months ago, the head of Tesla, Elon Musk, clarified that a car with more than 1,000 km of autonomy and, therefore, with a large battery that added more weight was not something useful and nobody really needed it.
Many saw in these statements a kind of paradox, especially when you know that autonomy is one of the main obstacles to buying an electric car. Except that with the proliferation of charging infrastructures and the work done on electric cars (aerodynamics, weight, etc.), they are all elements that prove that a huge battery is not necessarily necessary for an electric car.
Ford intends to save money instead
So far the technical limitations. From a financial point of view, producing smaller batteries and less “complex” electric cars is also in another interest for Ford: make savings. And that is precisely what Ford is all about.
“Our future electric vehicles can be upgraded via software; therefore, this means a completely new electrical architecture”said the leader, “And they’ll be radically simplified: Imagine three body styles, each with volume potential of up to a million units, and only a handful of orderable configurations.”
The same goes for the batteries, where Ford will offer several, but all of them will be adaptable to any model in the range. “We want to design the smallest battery possible, but also the most competitive”stated Jim Farley, who also pointed out the need for a “radical simplification”that is to say with much less fixings and supports, for example.
This all sounds a lot like the Tesla model, where the possible configurations are few compared to other manufacturers. And it is towards this path that Ford intends to head.
Asian competition is heating up
Therefore, Ford appears to be preparing to a price war and it intends to make the most of its production costs in order, on the one hand, to cope with the increase in raw materials, but also, on the other hand, to contain its prices, in particular in the face of competition.
In fact, this is also where it will play out, especially with Chinese manufacturers able to afford to “slash” prices thanks to near-total control of their supply chain and production. Ford has already secured its near-term future by signing a partnership with Volkswagen and sharing its MEB platform for minimize production and development costs. Also remember that Ford is planning an electric car for less than $25,000.
But will this be enough to face the competition from Asia that, in addition to offering convincing products, can even afford to market them at “lower cost”? Nothing is less secure. In any case, this is the strategy that Renault also wants to take. Small batteries, which recharge quickly.
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