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Cars ford focus electric options

Published on September 20th, 2012 | by James Ayre


Ford’s Electrification Director: “I’ve never got love emails and notes like [these]”

September 20th, 2012 by  

ford focus electric options

“I’ve never got love emails and notes like I get for this BEV — it brings many absolute joy,” says Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of Electrification Programmes and Engineering, on the customer response received from the Ford Focus Electric.

Ford is preparing to release five new electrified vehicles to the marketplace in 2012, so Layden recently did an interview with just-auto’s Dave Leggett on this and related matters.

Some highlights from the interview are below:

“Ford has what we call the ‘power of choice’. We can offer the customer a number of options and all the fuel alternatives that reduces your CO2 – or lessen the carbon footprint.”

“We should be able to satisfy 60-70% of customers on daily use as their primary vehicle…. We want to get everything right, down to the sales experience, delivery experience, all the components and making sure the introduction goes well.”

“In 2020 we are expecting between 10-25% of our fleet (vehicles sold) to be electrified vehicles — BEVs, hybrids and plug in hybrids [the figure now is 1-1.5%].”

Source: PRNewswire
Image Credit: Ford

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Bob_Wallace

    I just saw this on Green Car Congress –
    “Bob Lutz says battery costs are:
    ‘The Volt “variable cost” (labor and materials, without revealing any confidential GM information), looks very roughly like this: A Li-Ion battery today runs about $350 per KWh. The Volt’s is 16KWh, so that’s roughly $6000. Add $4,000 for the battery pack structure, the cooling, the high-voltage wiring, the motor and the power electronics. So, that’s the electric portion. Add about 20 hours of assembly labor which we’ll round to a very generous $1000.’

    That comes out to around $625 kwh ”

    OK, $350 per kWh. Better than $400 per.

    Then the BOS (balance of system) costs – battery pack structure, the cooling, the high-voltage wiring, the motor and the power electronics – those do not increase as battery capacity increases. The same amount of power comes out of the batteries per unit time, they just last longer.

    $350 per kWh in 2012 brings us to $180/kWh in 2020 with an 8% per annum price decrease. That will make EVs very competitive. It would bring the unsubsidized price of the Leaf to under $30k, less than the average selling price of new US cars.

    $4,000 for the battery pack structure, the cooling, the high-voltage wiring, the motor and the power electronics.

    $4320 for a Leaf-sized battery pack that delivers 185 mile range.

    Wonder what the cost of a new internal combustion engine might be? Don’t forget to add in the cost of fuel, cooling and emissions system. There’s platinum in that catalytic converter….

  • Anne

    All people driving an electric vehicle are very content. Whether it is a Volt or a LEAF or an iMiev or a Tesla, it seems they all fall in love instantly and never want to go back to the explosion motor!

  • wattleberry

    The trick here, recognising that today’s EVs will inevitably soon be rendered obsolete by technical developments, is to encourage buyers who, though able to afford them now, will be dithering and holding back, by designing and promoting them as far as possible to accept replacement ‘transplant’ component modules as available without having to ditch the whole. Few buyers are that keen to make an expensive contribution to see their investment rapidly eroded.
    This approach has not, as far as I know, been hitherto adopted on vehicles but seems more appropriate for EVs with their simpler construction.

    • Completely agree.

      If I were in the market for a car, this would be a clincher for me (ease my concerns).

  • This 10-15% projection is too pessimistic. What depress demand is underperforming battery. Only 100% improvement of batteries (expected in at most 5y) will be enough for demand to explode. In 2020 EVs will make at least 50% of new vehicles. I am ready to bet his company on it.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ford has played it smart. They set up their Focus assembly lines so that they can be quickly converted to whichever version (electric or fuel) is selling best.

      If (I prefer “when”) we get better batteries Ford will be able to keep up with demand by sticking to this strategy.

    • Anne

      Even a ‘rabid EV promotor’ as Elon Musk is projecting an energy density increase of about 8% per year and the same price reduction (per kWh). This essentially means the price for a battery cell stays the same, while the capacity goes up by 8% per year. Over 5 years, that works out to an improvement of less than 50%. It seems you stand to lose a Ford Motor Company. Don’t worry, for a few billion you can buy another one. 😉

      • Bob_Wallace

        Battery capacity goes up 8% per year. Nine years to double capacity. And price per kW stays flat.

        I’m not willing to accept that projection. High battery price is largely driven by economies of scale, not lots of expensive materials.

        Improvements in capacity are likely to come from improvements in cathode/anode composition/design and not from using more expensive electrolytes or cases. Improved cathodes and anodes would not take huge amounts of additional energy to produce, I would think. The only thing that would keep kW prices high would be if cathode/anode technology moved to very expensive materials.

        Over the next eight years I suspect EV prices will fall for the simple reason that we will manufacture more and companies will look for ways to cut costs because of market pressure. Automation, supply chain improvements, thinner spreading of R&D costs, higher lower skilled labor to skilled labor ratios.

        Growth of capacity at 8% a year will get us from today’s 100 mile EVs to the 170-180 range that lets one drive all day (500) miles with only a couple of moderate charging stops.

        I won’t go quite to predrag’s “50% of market by 2020” but I certainly wouldn’t bet against it. EVs that you can drive on long trips and don’t cost much more than their ICEV equals. Driving on “$1/gallon fuel”. More fun to drive. No stopping at gas stations. Less maintenance.

        Throw in 50% of sales either EV or PHEV and I’d probably bet with him.

        • professor Anne

          I’m not sure if I follow you, Bob. You mention price per kW, but do you perhaps mean price per kWh? Those are very different metrics. Price per kW is important for hybrids where power delivery and charge acceptance are more important than energy storage.

          But I assume you meant price per kWh. In that case, my projection was not that the price per kWh stays flat, but it declines by 8% per year. As the energy density increases by the same amount, you could say that a cell can store 8% more energy per year for the same price.

          Now to the price projections. There is quite a bit uncertainty there, since there is overcapacity brewing. Look at the PV market what overcapacity has done to the price. The supply/demand equation is short term (a few years) more important than development in the field of chemistries/mass production.

          So it all depends on the demand for EV’s. High demand is bad because it drives up battery prices, low demand is bad because we all want the EV to be a success. You can’t win. You simply can’t win. Sigh. 😉

          • Bob_Wallace

            kWh. But I do see it written both ways.

            You wrote –

            ” projecting an energy density increase of about 8% per year and the same price reduction (per kWh). This essentially means the price for a battery cell stays the same, while the capacity goes up by 8% per year. ”

            Your second sentence seems to negate the first.

            As capacity rises 8% and cell price falls 8% the affordability and usability of EVs will drop quite rapidly. If we start with a “100 mile range” EV and boost cell capacity by 8% per year then we reach a very usable 185 mile range by 2020. If we start with $400/kWh and drop cell price by 8% then we reach $205/kWh by 2020 which would bring the cost of EVs reasonably close to ICEVs.

            We don’t know what the price of batteries are at the moment. $400/kWh is what I commonly see. But GreenTech Media has reported that Better Place signed purchase agreements for battery delivery in 2012 for $250/kWh. If the price is actually $250/kWh then eight years of 8% price drop yields $128/kWh and makes EVs roughly the same purchase price of ICEVs.

            Now back to predrag’s prediction. 8% capacity increase per cell and 8% price drop per cell would mean an EV that could be driven all day long with two <20 minute recharge stops and the purchase price would be equal or no more than $3k more than an ICEV. Even a $3k premium would be acceptable to most people, I suspect. That extra would be recovered very quickly through fuel savings.

            If we achieve 8% and 8% by 2020 then I'm joining predrag and betting Layden's company on EVs gaining 50% of the market.

          • Anne


            I recognize that, but it is the long term effect of demand. I guess you only read the last paragraph of my post, which btw wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously as I had hoped you would have noticed. In the paragraph preceding it I wrote: “The supply/demand equation is short term (a few years) more important
            than development in the field of chemistries/mass production.”

            It takes time to match demand with supply. Those factories do not spring out of the ground like mushrooms. And companies must be willing to invest.

            Another thing you happily ignore is raw materials constraints. That is in many occasions a limiting factor from the planet that we live on. Why do you think the oil price has been rising over the past years? And why doesn’t anyone think supply will bring it back down? The fabrication of batteries also depends on prices of raw materials and no amount of mass production can correct a shortage of a key material.

          • Anne

            @Bob_Wallace:disqus ” But I do see it written both ways.”

            That is because many people confound the two. But they are not interchangeable.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We currently have a surplus of battery plants. Capacity is higher than demand. Battery plants are built in less than two years.

            I am aware of no raw material constraints in terms of occurrence. There may be short term supply constraints as we ramp up processing. For example, we are seeing more lithium processing and rare earth mineral coming on line at the moment.

            Investment in EVs and batteries is not a problem. Essentially every car manufacturer has released or is ready to release an EV, PHEV or both. New EV companies have sprung up and are delivering product. Investors see potential fortunes to be made in EV batteries. Financing to expand capacity will be no problem.

            Ford did something that seems very smart to me. They designed the assembly lines for their new Focus so that they can be quickly converted from ICEV to EV or EV to ICEV as the market adjusts demand. As battery prices drop (which I’m assuming will happen) sales ratios will start to move in favor of EVs and Ford is positioned to meet demand. I’m sure other car manufacturers have taken this idea on board and their future models will be designed in the same fashion.

          • Nonsense. Demand brings prices up only if it is not matched by supply, otherwise just the opposite is true. To halving of price due to evolution of technology, add another halving due to increase of the volume of production. And then, when some critical point is reached, the necessary infractructure (fast charging stations) develops, giving stong boost to consumer confidence. Finally, there are psychological hurdles to be breached. EVs are now almost experimental cars, risky and presumably prone to surprises. In 8 years they will turn mainstream. The process is — and this is probably the most important part of the story — irreversible. More than 90% of owners of Volt are satisfied and will never more buy a gasoline car. I rarely lose my bets, let alone on such amounts.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So it all depends on the demand for EV’s. High demand is bad because it drives up battery prices, low demand is bad because we all want the EV to be a success. You can’t win. You simply can’t win. Sigh. ”

            I’m agreeing with predrag here. Demand drives up prices only when supply limits exist.

            When we’re talking about a new technology which is still very immature there are many cost savings yet to be realized. Automation, supply chain improvements, spreading R&D costs over more units, decreasing the ration of expensive skilled labor to less expensive lower skilled labor, spreading administration and marketing costs over more units – these all allow production costs to drop as demand/consumption rises.

            Plus, think of what happens when a market appears and takes off. At that point a lot more players enter the game. They each begin looking for ways to improve the product and decrease production cost. More pigs rooting turn up more truffles.

            Go back and look at the market penetration and cost history of emerging technologies. Cell phones, computers, LCD TVs, … – they all start “crude” and increase in quality as price drops and demand grows.

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