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Unlike some of its competitors, Ford has no near-term plans to introduce an electric vehicle with a driving range of around 320 kilometres (200 miles).

Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification, told Automotive News last week at the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) World Congress in Detroit that the company’s revised Ford Focus Electric has enough range to satisfy most commuters in the USA.

The 2017 model year Focus Electric has seen its driving range increase from 76 miles (122km) to the symbolically significant 100mi (161km) mark. According Layden, by going for a lower range target, the Focus Electric is able to use a smaller, lighter and, most importantly, cheaper battery pack.

2015 Ford Focus Electric
Above: Ford Focus Electric

At present, the 2016 Focus Electric, with a range of 122km (76mi), is priced from US$29,170 ($38,000). That pits it head-to-head with the Nissan Leaf, which in the US is priced from US$29,010 ($37,800) and has a range of 172km (107mi).

Other speakers at the last week’s SAE World Congress stated that for EVs to gain wider acceptance, they had to have a range of least 200mi (320km), as it would help to ease buyers’ range anxiety.

So far three automakers — GM, Tesla and Nissan — have committed to launching an affordable EV with a fully charged driving range around 320km by 2018.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Above: Chevrolet Bolt

GM has already unveiled the production version of the Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt will also be sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e, but right-hand drive and Australian sales are seemingly off the cards for now.

The Bolt has a 150kW/360Nm electric motor hooked up to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. The electric tall hatch should be good a 0-100km/h time of around seven seconds, while a 60kWh battery pack from LG Chem will provide a range of 320km.

When the Bolt goes on sale in the US towards the end of 2016, the hatch will be priced from US$37,500 ($48,300).

tesla-model-3_02
Above: Tesla Model 3 pre-production prototype

Earlier this month, Tesla revealed a pre-production prototype of its new Model 3 sedan. Scheduled to go into series production in 2018, the Model 3 will have a range of at least 320km in its base trim.

Priced from US$35,000 ($45,600), the Model 3 will be targeted at buyers in the BMW 3 Series/Mercedes-Benz C-Class/Audi A4/Lexus IS-class.

Nissan is also expected to release a second-generation Leaf by 2018. Executives have already stated the new Leaf will feature a “revolutionary” battery that will provide it with at least 300 kilometres of range.

MORE: All the latest EV news




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