In April, Ford CEO Mark Fields just about confirmed rumors that the automaker was working on an 200-mile-range electric vehicle to be called the “Ford Model E,” expected to enter production in late-2019.
The car would go head-to-head with the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt – i.e. affordable, long-range battery electric vehicles (BEVs). But according to intel from research firm AutoForecast Solutions, the Ford Model E might not stop there, instead going on to be offered in both conventional- and plugin-hybrid forms in addition to the BEV car. AutoForecast Solutions is the same reputable research firm that first broke the news of the Ford Model E.
Adding a bit more confusion into the mix, Ford’s Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering, Kevin Layden, indicated that a 200-mile-range BEV might be superfluous, and said earlier this year that “with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles [of range], it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population.”
The conflicting statements, along with AutoForecast Solutions’ prediction of conventional- and plugin-hybrid versions of the Ford Model E, leave a lot of questions. Ford is already a full-line automaker; supposing that the new model is indeed offered in hybrid form, it seems the car would overlap enough with existing products that it might make more sense as a replacement for one of the automaker’s current models.
Plus, the “Ford Model E” name necessarily conjures images of electrification (we’re assuming here that “E” stands for “Electric,” or something similar), and recalls old, iconic names like “Model A” and “Model T.” Ford could conceivably use that similarity to bill the car as a sort of new epoch, every bit as significant as Ford’s earliest vehicles. That novelty would be lost if it were extended to a hybrid car, as we’ve got plenty of those running around already.
Our own predictions regarding the Ford Model E are that it will indeed arrive for the 2020 model year, likely as a sub-$40,000 midsize or compact car. We would guess that either it will be sold exclusively as a BEV, or will serve as a replacement for the C-MAX multi-purpose vehicle if it’s to offer hybrid powertrain options. The “Model E” name seems likely to follow the car to production, given that Ford has already filed a trademark application for it.
What do you think? Will the Ford Model E ever reach production? If it does, will conventional- and plugin-hybrid versions be offered?