photo: Todd Woody
Ford executives brought a battery-powered Focus sedan to San Francisco on Thursday (along with a plug-in hybrid Escape). It was clear from the presentation by Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification, that the automaker is aiming for a mass market and is spending a great deal of effort on helping create an entire electric car infrastructure. As I wrote in The New York Times on Friday:
At a press event in San Francisco on Thursday, Ford showed off a prototype of what might be called the Model T of the automaker’s electric car strategy: the battery-powered Focus sedan.
“This is about affordable transportation for the masses — this is not about a small niche,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification.
To keep costs down, the Focus and plug-in electric hybrids will be built — in small numbers at first — on what the company calls its global “C” platform, which produces two million cars a year.
“The assembly line in Michigan will produce the battery-electric Focus and also, with minor modifications, the gas Focus,” Ms. Gioia said. “We can change production as the market shifts.”
The Focus will hit the market in 2011 followed the next year by a plug-in electric Escape sport-utility vehicle, which Ford also showed off in San Francisco. Ms. Gioia said she expects electric and plug-in hybrids will account for 10 to 25 percent of the market by 2020.
You can read the rest of the story here.
But the cars seemed almost beside the point as Ford executives focused on their strategy to work with utilities and other groups to create open standards for electric cars and ensure that a charging infrastructure is in place when buyers hit showrooms.