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There’s a (100-Mile) Ford in Your Future, But That’s About It

2015 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Motor Company is hitting the brakes in the electric vehicle range war.

While competitors like Tesla and General Motors are busy preparing EVs with ranges of 200 miles or more, Ford is staying put at the 100-mile line, Automotive News has reported.

Though it plays well in the plug-in hybrid game with models like the C-Max and Fusion Energi, the automaker’s only “pure” EV — the Focus Electric — has lingered near the back of the pack in terms of range since debuting in 2012.

For 2017, the Focus Electric’s range grows from 76 miles to 100 miles, but beyond that lies a territory the automaker feels it doesn’t need to enter. The reason lies in the economics of the vehicle itself, as bigger battery packs add weight and cost.

100 miles is good enough for most, said Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering, at last week’s SAE World Congress in Detroit.

“I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population,” Layden told a panel audience. “It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.”

The 2016 Focus Electric has an MSRP of $29,170 before applicable government incentives, which would drop the price into the low twenty thousands. The Chevrolet Bolt, due out this fall with a range of 200-plus miles, is expected to retail for $30,000 after incentives. Tesla’s Model 3, scheduled for production late next year, will offer a range of 215 miles and a sticker price of $35,000.

By sticking with a commuter (not intercity) range, Ford’s biggest competitor remains the Nissan Leaf, which offers a newly upgraded range of 107 miles on higher trim levels (84 miles for base models) at a higher price than the Focus.

That relationship won’t last forever, as EV-hungry Nissan is planning a 200-mile Leaf for 2018.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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