Two news items out yesterday. First, the advanced engineering center in Dearborn, Michigan will be the center around which it consolidates its efforts to develop hybrids and other electrified vehicles.
Second. Although Ford had hinted at this before, it is stating flat out now that it does not intend to have dozens of Focus Electric sitting around on lots waiting to be bought. “Ford dealers across the US will boast one demonstration vehicle and customers will then be able to order the car and receive their model within around four to six weeks.”
It is kind of an eye brow raiser because the reality is that large chunks of the car buying public does NOT buy cars this way. One can’t help but wonder if Ford will lose out on sales, if Nissan Leafs are available in every flavor, right now, right down the road.
The suggestion is that this is a cost savings measure for Ford, but the Nissan Leaf is $2000 to $5000 less so at this point they don’t appear to be passing on any cost savings to the buyer. Ford’s feature set is better in my opinion, but not sure how widely this opinion is shared, and even for me it is not clear that it is $5k better. In my view this is more a revenue propping measure, than a cost saving measure. By maintaining a strict supply, they do not have to discount to move stagnant inventory.
The only new revelation was that “a European launch is also slated for later this year” According to Mike Tinskey at Ford. How cool is it that? Two mass produced cars are going to be built in America and sold in Europe? I REPEAT CARS BUILT IN AMERICA WILL BE SOLD IN EUROPE. First the Volt. Now the Focus Electric. It is no coincidence that it is electric vehicles leading this importation train to Europe.
Props to DWF1. He had speculated that “it is doubtful Ford has "sold" any Ford Focus Electric Vehicles (FFEV) to the general public.” And so it is “after successfully delivering the first wave of vehicles to commercial partners, such as Google, Florida Power and Light and Microsoft, late last year.”
This promise of 4 to 6 weeks from order to delivery is nice, but is clearly not being implemented in the first wave. DWF1 tell us that “I ordered my FFEV 11/29/11. I have a VIN number, I am told it will be delivered early April (2012)” Ditto for me. I ordered March 25, 2012 and was told to expect an October 2012 delivery.
“Ford research shows that consumers are more apt to buy electrified automobiles if it takes less than four years to recoup the higher vehicle cost, assuming gasoline costs $4.50 a gallon.”
Ford isn’t saying that the cost of their vehicles can be recouped in 4 years, they are saying that is their goal for the future.
“It would take 12 years to break even on a Chevy Volt with gas at $4 a gallon, auto research group Edmunds.com said. Both Ford and Edmunds.com assume the average consumer drives 15,000 miles a year.”
Not sure why Ford would bring this up, since the Volt and Focus EV both start around the same price.
Regardless, Edmunds bases that number on some faulty assumptions. Among which is the fact that Edmunds only managed to drive on electricity 43% of the time. That percentage ranks them 655 out of 687 on http://www.voltstats.net
. Put another way 654 managed to do better, and many of them bought their cars halfway across the country. The fleet average is over 71%. I put 18300 miles on the Volt in the first year, and 92% of those were electric miles.
More typical for the average consumer would be the results from Kiplinger’s which showed that a Volt could make up the cost difference in just over 5 years if gas were $3.50 and rose 3% per year.