Ford’s forthcoming battery-electric crossover utility vehicle, slated to arrive by 2020, won’t be in a class of one. General Motors already launched its Chevrolet Bolt EV for the 2017 model year, Tesla Motors is developing a new, affordable “Model Y” compact CUV, and both Volvo and Volkswagen are fixing to release their own pure-electric crossovers within the same time frame.
Yet, it’s not clear that Ford has anything to be anxious about. Business Insider spoke to Ford Executive VP of Product Development and CTO Raj Nair recently, who seemed confident that Ford’s future crossover BEV has a good chance of stacking up well against Tesla’s Model Y, which is also expected to bow in late-2019 or 2020.
“We think we have a technology path that will get us a 300-plus miles range and an affordable crossover utility that will be fully competitive,” Nair said, indicating that the new BEV could handily surpass the 300-mile mark. For comparison, the Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a range of 238 miles, while Tesla’s Model 3 is expected to provide up to around 215 miles of travel on a full charge.
What’s more, while the automaker hasn’t yet announced a price target for the new crossover, Ford has every intention of keeping it “an affordable vehicle, a mainstream model,” Nair says.
“To get electrification volumes where we would all like them to be we have to make sure we make the affordability targets or otherwise they are going to stay as a niche item or a pure luxury item.”
And finally, in a small, relatively new space like the EV market, Ford sees some competition as a good thing. “We always welcome the competition,” Nair told Business Insider. “There are some aspects of the economics of battery-electric vehicles that are helped by scale.” For example, the high cost of lithium-ion battery packs could be brought down by higher production volumes, and it stands to reason that the number of charging stations is influenced by the quantity of EVs on the road.
“The more [market penetration] we get, all of us are helped by the economies of scale,” Nair says.