"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, Electrification Programmes and Engineering, on the customer response received from the Focus Electric.
As Ford are set to bring out five new electrified vehicles to market in 2012, just-auto's Dave Leggett caught up with the man in charge of leading this team.
In this exclusive interview, Layden talks of the evolution of vehicle electrification, the rollout of the Focus Electric, the importance of future hybrids and electrical vehicles and Ford's ethos of the 'Power of Choice'.
"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," he insists.
Layden is confident and remains ambitious for Ford's future strategy for EVs and hybrids. "We want to have many products, from the gasoline-powered to plug-in to hybrid to pure electric. At Ford we have common parts and platforms which give us maximum efficiency and the ability to alter the mix so folks can still have the same experience."
The rollout of the Focus Electric began in June and in the first few months around 100 a month were being sold, with plans to ramp sales up to about 1,000 units a month by the end of the year.
"We should be able to satisfy 60-70% of customers on daily use as their primary vehicle," Layden explains. "We want to get everything right, down to the sales experience, delivery experience, all the components and making sure the introduction goes well," he adds.
For Ford's part in the production of hybrids and electrified vehicles, it will be highly significant in terms of share of sales by 2020. "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%]." Ford forecasts that of its electrified vehicles sold in 2020, around 90% will be hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
"It's still a bit speculative, of course," Layden adds.
With an extremely positive outlook, plans to launch PHEVs and BEV variants in Europe and five new electrified vehicles soon to come to market, Ford is certainly ready for wherever the market could take them, " Where is the market going to take us?" Layden asks himself, "Power of Choice gives us the ability to move. We aren't betting on any one fuel."
Read more on just-auto.com for the full interview.
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