Ford believes the route to success is to make people want electric vehicles, not need them.
The $28,040 Nissan Leaf is a great little electric car. Practical, affordable, and perfect for the daily commute. But it's not exciting, is it? But before you run off and say no EV is exciting, allow us to point you in the direction of the Model S Plaid, Porsche Taycan, and even the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. These are all examples of great, fun cars that just happen to be electric.
And it seems the Blue Oval is intent on injecting thrills into the electric vehicle arena, as it believes its customers aren't buying EVs for the environment - they're buying Ford EVs because they're desirable products. Ford's vice president of electric vehicle programs, Darren Palmer, told Cars Guide that developing excellent EVs goes further than electrifying existing models.
"The next vehicle we're doing is an Explorer-type vehicle, and we're working on making that insanely great...[both] Jim Farley and Doug Fields [say to me], 'if it's like today but a bit better, it's canceled,'" said Palmer.
He explains that Ford's current EV ethos centers around building "insanely great" products that "customers love." Innovation is also a big deal, with Palmer noting these vehicles need to "do things they've never done before."
The company's director of communications for EVs, Emma Bergg, shared additional insight into Ford EV buying habits. Surprisingly, people aren't buying these vehicles over environmental concerns. "There is not such a drive for sustainability in the US because, quite frankly, a lot of people don't really care…I would say there is a generation that cares, but for the most part middle America doesn't really care," she added.
Palmer explains that Ford doesn't want people to buy EVs because they're forced to. They want to make a range of electric cars that is both sustainable and desirable. "That's all very nice, but we want you to want an EV. If you don't want a [Mach-E] GT after you've driven it, you've got no blood in your veins. The thing is exhilarating in a different way to a Mustang Coupe," he explained.
The VP of electric vehicle programs said future Ford EVs will provide the same feeling of excitement. This can already be seen with the F-150 Lightning. It proved so desirable that the automaker had to double production because of rising demand. With the earliest examples already on American roads, customers are seemingly in love with their battery-powered trucks.
Additionally, Ford will have to make new electric Fords as appealing (if not better) than their ICE counterparts, said Palmer. But what's on the horizon? As mentioned, an Explorer-sized electric SUV (rumored to launch in 2023) is on the way and so is a smaller SUV aimed at the European market.
This more compact model will reportedly be based on the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen ID.4, as part of a strategic partnership between the automotive giants. This alliance has resulted in the new Ford Ranger and VW Amarok twins, for example.
Elsewhere, trademarks point to electric variants of the Ranger and Maverick joining the lineup. This is still to be confirmed, but we can expect these vehicles to arrive in the next few years. In the meantime, the automaker has said several new models will arrive by 2024. If Ford's promises are anything to go by, they'll all be great fun to drive.