Ford Sees Electric Car Market as a "Long-Term Journey"

By Jacob Brown | April 18, 2012
Having a truly successful electric car market isn't going to happen for a while. It can't, and Ford CEO Alan Mulally realizes this. Speaking to a group of reporters who asked if Ford would be disappointed if it didn't meet its electric car sales goals, the executive said, "No, because we believe that the electrification of vehicles is going to continue as the battery cost comes down, as we move to generate electricity cleanly," he said. "We see this as continually growing. This is a long-term journey." Ford has not publicly stated sales goals for its $39,995 Focus Electric, its first all-electric car, which debuted in limited markets for 2012. But 5,000 seems to be the roundabout number posted, a number Ford isn't sure it will make amid a slow start. Still, no one at Ford is sweating about it. According to Bloomberg, the price of lithium-ion battery packs fell last year from $800 per kilowatt-hour to $689. Prices are expected to go down even further as the technology becomes cheaper to produce. That, in turn, should lead to electric cars becoming more accessible to consumers. So far, the high water mark for electric cars has been the Nissan Leaf, which costs $36,050 without a $7,500 federal tax rebate. Through March, Nissan has sold 1,733 of its all-electric cars, which sounds remarkably low until you realize that's a 283-percent increase over last year's numbers. Nissan went on to sell 9,674 Leafs last year. Ford says it expects electric and hybrid vehicles to account for a quarter of all new vehicles sold by 2020. That bodes well for the Focus Electric's future. But seeing as how electric and hybrid vehicles currently account for 3.4 percent of new cars and trucks sold in the U.S., the technology has a long, long way to go. Source: Bloomberg