DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford unveils its first all-electric SUV and marks the beginning of an avalanche of battery-powered vehicles coming from mainstream and luxury car manufacturers over the next two years, which industry analysts say will increase sales of electric vehicles.
"Mustang Mach E", which will go 230 miles to more 300 miles per charge depending on how it is equipped, was presented on Sunday night ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show press days.
There are now 18 for sale in the United States, and IHS Markit expects it to grow to 80 in 2022, including pickup and SUVs located in the heart of the US market. But last year, pure electric vehicles accounted for only 1.5% of new vehicle sales worldwide, and consulting firm LMC Automotive predicts it will rise to 2.2% this year. In the US, electric vehicles were only 1.2% of sales in 2018, and it is expected to be about the same this year.
But car manufacturers are seeing the potential for growth, and with electric vehicles running 250 miles or more on a single charge, worrying about running out of juice on a daily commute is gone. Due to the added models and the increased supply, LMC predicts that they will make up 17% of global sales and 7% of US sales in 2030.
First-generation electric vehicles, which were primarily retrofitted versions of existing models designed to meet state fuel economy standards, did not sell to a large extent because they could not travel more than 100 miles between charges. But now many can go beyond the distance that people run on a day with plenty of pillow.
"To see 250 miles as a real thing has been a kind of game-changing in the electric car market," says Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for consumer reports. "There have not been many choices for a vehicle that could really take the place of a regular vehicle. It is a completely different animal now."
Stephanie Brinley, chief car analyst for IHS Markit, said electric vehicle choices may expand before consumer demand does, but eventually people will buy them.
"The increased number of electric drive models will help increase sales in the United States," she said. "However, there is probably a period when the number of options will increase faster than demand and sales for each will be relatively low," she said.
While many electricians will come from luxury brands over the next few years, mainstream brands such as Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota also have them on the production schedule. Brands that have announced new models that will be on sale in the coming years include Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Byton, Rivian, Bollinger, Kia, Faraday Future, Volkswagen, Mazda, Tesla, Aston Martin, Polestar and Volvo, according to the website for automatic pricing by Edmunds.com. Edmunds provides content to The Associated Press.
Ford and General Motors have announced plans for all-electric pickups that will compete against gas and diesel cars that are the best sellers in the United States.
For Ford, managers realized in 2017 that they must offer something more exciting for the first of a new generation of electric vehicles. The company last year promised six battery electric vehicles in 2022. It also has partnerships with VW and startup Rivian to build more.
To sell them, Ford decided to go to the company's strengths: pickup trucks, commercial vans and the high-performance Mustang.
"There will be plenty of BEV (battery electric) SUVs on the market. Some will have large batteries and dual motors and be quite fast. Some will look really good," said Jason Castriota, the company's brand director for electric vehicles. "Nobody can combine all these elements and create something that will cut through the mess," he said. "Mustang is power."
The five-passenger Mach E looks like a Mustang, and Ford says it comes close to matching the car's performance. The engineers say the base model will have a range of about 230 miles (370 kilometers) per charge, with a long-term alternative of more than 300 miles (483 kilometers). The base version is expected to go from zero to 60 mph (96.6 km / h) in just over six seconds, Ford said, while the performance GT version will do so in about 3.5 seconds.
The base version is rear-wheel drive, with options for all-wheel drive. It has the Mustang pony mark on the front and back, a long hood and a fast back look on the back. Still, designers retained the back seat space with a darker glass ceiling. The Mustang team set up Mach E's chassis tuning, which determines the handling. Designers also copied the Mustang's triple headlights.
US orders are now being taken and the SUV will reach showrooms next fall. The base model will start at just under $ 44,000, with GT starting at about $ 65,000. Ford buyers are still eligible for a $ 7,500 federal tax credit, which is settled at Tesla and General Motors.
Ford has managed Electrify America and others for a national network that contains over 12,000 charging stations and 35,000 contacts, so EV owners can go on longer trips.
The company will also have 2,100 of its US dealers certified for servicing electric vehicles.