Recently, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s Global Electrification Strategist sat down for an interview with Green Car Advisor to talk about electric cars and Ford place in the market.
During the interview Mr. Marakby said that Ford’s plans where larger than allowing for US incentives on electric cars, saying “This is a global plan. Everything we’re doing applies globally. The Transit Connect is a global vehicle, and the Focus electric vehicle we will have here at the end of next year will be sold in Europe in 2012. We’re also looking at China, of course. All of these platforms are global.”
On the incentives themselves he said, “Cost is a concern with battery electric vehicles. The $7,500 (federal) tax credit for electric vehicles is not going to last forever. Some states also have tax credits, but we don’t know how long they will continue.”
The other drawback according to Ford, seems to be a universal truth to all those manufacturers of BEVs. Range. “There is still range anxiety, and people worry about how they drive their vehicles will affect range. That is why we see plug-in hybrids as the next big piece of the pie.”
Green Car Advisor also asks him about Nissan’s seemingly recent success with the LEAF and having over 20,000 hand raisers for their car, and if that “affect Ford’s expectations of the sales potential for battery electric vehicles?”
To which Mr. Marakby answers, “ I would say no. We’re not as bullish on battery electric vehicles as some. Nissan’s experience is an indication of interest (in the Leaf), and it is fairly similar to the initial public reaction to hybrids. We’ll see how many will actually buy the vehicle. The question is whether the interest level will continue or if it will decline. That’s not clear yet. At this point we’re still watching electric vehicles in the market. We’re going to learn a lot in the next two years.”
Not exactly the ringing endorsement we like to hear.
As for future volumes, Ford says they are not announcing plans beyond the first year, and they really do not know themselves, “We haven’t announced any volumes, and we’re still trying to determine that.” But they do expect a 50-50 split between retail and corporate sales of the car, and will offer it both for lease and for sale as a whole when it does come to market.
(Read the full Q&A with Sherif at Edmunds)