No-Trade-Off Electric Vehicles
William Ford Jr. once drove a Ford Ranger EV all-electric pickup powered lead-acid batteries that "pretty much filled the bed." On more than one occasion he wondered if he had enough energy to reach Ford's World Headquarters in Detroit, he told the audience during the Wednesday morning panel discussion at the 2009 Business of Plugging in conference.
"And if I got a call from my wife asking me to stop on the way home, the answer was no," he jested, highlighting the central thrust of his message that customers aren't going to accept many, if any trade-offs when they consider buying an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. It's the collective job of the auto and utility industries to ensure they don't have to.
He noted that everyone claims to be an environmentalist, but what they mean is they want everyone else to be one and that they don't want to have to compromise on what they drive, personally.
Towards that end, he explained, Ford has made some "big bets" on EVs, introducing in 2010 an electric Ford Transit Connect, then a Michigan-made electric Ford Focus in 2011, followed in 2012 by a plug-in hybrid, which he sees as eliminating customer concerns (anxiety) over running out of electric power.
Not only do companies like Ford have to make these cars fun to drive and hassle-free, but they also have to figure out how to make them affordable by exploring battery cost reduction strategies including leasing options, and more closely tailoring the vehicle to the driving situation, with battery electric cars bette suited to urban environments and Zipcar-like car-share business models.
While he acknowledges that its still very early, he believes the industry has done " a really good job of delivering the fun-to-drive and the no-trade-offs in the vehicle."
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