Ford Moves to Boost Electric-Car Sales

Critics like Ford's Focus Electric, but few have sold so far. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford's (NYSE: F  ) Focus Electric is a pretty nice electric car. It has decent range for its price, it drives well, and most critics have been impressed by its overall execution. But it's selling in tiny numbers: only about 1,600 since it was launched late in 2011. Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) sells that many car every few weeks.

Part of the problem is the price: Compared with rivals such s Nissan's (NASDAQOTH: NSANY  ) Leaf EV, the Focus Electric is expensive -- about twice the cost of a regular gas-powered Focus. Ford just announced a price cut, but will it be enough to jump-start sales?

In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear looks at Ford's electric car in the context of the company's overall green-car strategy, and he gives his thoughts on whether this price cut is likely to help the Focus Electric's sales -- and on how much that matters to Ford.

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Read/Post Comments (47) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 1:59 PM, Petronilus wrote:

    The question is if the target audience is:

    1. Someone trying to save money by a more efficient car

    2. Someone who wants to go greener

    3. Someone who wants the coolest in tech/performance

    Ford Focus Electric is too expensive for category 1 and performance/range is too limited for category 3.

    But while many of us like the idea of going greener, few want to pay much extra for it with such a limited range. Had this car provided 150 miles of range, it would have been a different story.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:28 PM, Brettze wrote:

    The trouble with everyone is that they pretend they can still afford to pump $100 worth of gasoline and drive too much! We are a nation of gasoholics! They drive as if they aim to bankrupt the government . Look at Detroit as a starter... Our economy is still unstable because of unstable oil prices. We want to grow our economy but cannot . Higher oil prices will hit us after we try to grow our economy again. We are stuck. the only way out is to drive less. If you dont like EVs, fine, just drive less. There is no way around except if you are rich enough to pay any price to fill up your tank. Rich people still can afford to pay as much as $500 to fill it up. What about you? Rich people dont care about you . Sure, some rich people care by buying EVs, of course! Kudos to them! Not all of them. Look, money managers still invest in oil stocks. So go figure. They are betting on our total ingorance! History repeats, repeats and shalt repeat !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:31 PM, phillipzx3 wrote:

    If memory serves, Ford got a huge DOE loan that made the Tesla loan look like a poverty handout.

    Maybe Ford should subsidize the Focus EV price down to something the average human could afford. $15k-20k might get them selling.

    The Focus EV has decent performance, but as Petronilus wrote in his post, we need an entry level electric car with a 150 mile range.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:33 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford can borrow from Henry Ford the founder. He said choose any color as long as it is black! Ford can just build a million Focus Electric all in black and ship them out to all dealers and see what happens. Go for broke... there is no future in oil ! None ,whatsoever! Oil is finished ,kaput! Big Oil is really hard at work trying to squelch out any competitors that make EVs. Goldman Sachs is helping Big Oil ! Americans is facing a very stark choice! Oil or Electric now or else!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:34 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Look , electric bicycles only got 20 miles range.. Who is complaining ? Buy Electric Focus now. Ten years later, you will be back buying a better Electric Focus with longer range. You can count on it, pal!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:39 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Lithium mining companies already found more lithium , but they are waiting to make sure that more of us buy more electric Focus. It is expensive to develop a mine and it requires several years of permits and regulations to do so. Dont be caught dead with $8 gasoline! Look at Europe! Do you want America to be like Europe and $8 gasoline? Sure, President Obama can add taxes on gasoline to encourage Americans to buy electric Focus. It will be unpopular , of course. Does Americans need to be pulled around by their nosrils with bull rings?

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:40 PM, Brettze wrote:

    If Americans buy many, many more electric Focus, Big Oil stocks will fall really hard. Call your money manager to dump Big Oil stocks now and save your retirement funds now! Big Oil is dragging your pension funds down !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:44 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Government can push for more electric vehicles , but the trouble with this is is that Government is not great at picking right manufacturers . It is best left to consumers (car buyers). Look at solar companies that makes solar panels some very low efficient ones.. Govenment push them all while the best ones are not as successful as the lousy ones with lousy low efficient panels. who likes low efficient panels?? Wall street or REIT companies who are only interested in owning the land not the solar panels so they chose the cheapest lousiest solar panels to put them on land for 20 years then remove them and develop real estate. we will lose solar energy 20 years later like we did with solar water heaters , remember ?

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:47 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Build one million electric Focuses and see what happens! Lower price again! Tesla is fine for rich snots. Let Tesla be.. Ford, focus on ordinary Americans who are sick and tired of ICE!!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:48 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford, start working on electric F-150 pickups now! I mean NOWWWWWWWWWW!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:49 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Electric F-150 can carry battery on its bed!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:52 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Many forklifts are electric and they are powerful , able to fork tons around! So why not F-150 electrified !!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:55 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Camper shells can be covered with solar panels to keep electric F150 going , going ! or on racks

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:56 PM, Brettze wrote:

    A lot of solar contractors drive F150 so they look good with electric F150, right ?

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:57 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Hurry, Ford, hurry !!! Before GM catches up..

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:57 PM, EconMajorNU1986 wrote:

    I have a Civic Hybrid with a 160,000 miles. Gets 45 mpg. Needs a new battery but the $3000 cost will negate all the fuel savings. Electric's battery is at least twice as costly as a hybrid's.

    Economically speaking, nobody touting an electric should be making any claim about saving money over gas. Environmentally, electricity has to come from somewhere that is probably not carbon neutral or pollution-free. Hybrid cars will help attain the economies of scale necessary for future movement to electric. However, electric is not ready for prime time.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:57 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford, go mining for more lithium now!!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:59 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Econ, if you said that DOS compuiters is not ready for prime time 30years ago. You will be hanged upside down!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 2:59 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Econ, dump oil stocks , call your fund manager tomake sure he does , too.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:00 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Dump, baby , dump oil stocks!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:04 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Econ, if everybody drives a Civic , then you may be slightly right at best. Fuel savings will be greater as gasoline rises in the future. We already pay one trillion dollars more for oil goods every year simply becasue oil jumps from $50 to $100 today. When oil hits $200 which is VERY likely in ten years. we will be coughing two more trillions a year. A penny wise today will become a brainwash tomorrow!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:07 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Econ, not everyone is getting 45 mpg.. you are just a egomanac when it comes to fuel efficiency. You forget that most dont give a whit about efficiency. Those guys are making things worse for our economy.. so please quit preening your own feathers !!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:07 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Econ, many is very busy driving our economy into the dumps!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:09 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford doesnt make potlicial statements.. Ford makes cars that people wants. if people dont want electric Focus in enough quantities , then we have a really major problem ahead. Simple as that. Some people want to keep Big Oil going and keep paying dividends and to heck to the rest of America!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:13 PM, Brettze wrote:

    There is a real urgency to dump Big Oil stocks, yet everyone is hesistant about doing it.. You hesistate, you lose big elsewhere. Big Oil may survive but not without a godawful lot of economic causalities lying around in the future. Big Oil has no choice to keep producing enough oil that people demand. It is people not Big Oil that lead the economy. If people want to lead with mindless gas fillings, fine, our economy will be dumped ! We will be stratching our heads as we look at four lane highways left unused !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:14 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Awwwwwwwoooooooooooooooo! One million electric Focus! Awooooooooooooo! Another million F-150 pickups! Awoooooooooooooo! Awoooooooooooooooo!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:15 PM, Brettze wrote:

    OOps sorry I mean one million electric F-150... Awoooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:18 PM, Brettze wrote:

    When Ford says electric Focus... great,, I also mean electric F-150, electric Fusions, electric Lincolns, electric Transits, electric vans.. Lets electrify Ford !!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:18 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Bright Ideas! Light bulb flash!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:22 PM, Brettze wrote:

    If there is no bright future in oil, then Ford can simply say so.. Ford can say to the world that oil sucks! Bad, bad for our economy! Oil keeps on getting bad and worse every year! More pollution! More EPA regulations every year! Republicans want to repeal regulations. Republicans love oil too much to be any good for our own mother country! Republicans is addicted to oil! Bad Republicans! Very rotten Republicans!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:24 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Republicans are getting so sulfuric! ! smells like rotten eggs down to the yolk!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:28 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Lets unite and get America through the Great Oil Hangover! We must do it! It is a long delayed MUST! We can start mass protest against Big Oil and make demands that greedy Big Oil start subsidizing Ford to make electric Focus and F-150. Deny free enterprise to Big Oil! Big Oil is anti competitive! We must downsize Big Oil ! Big Oil is not too big to FAIL! Big Oil must FAIL! Oil stakeholders must lose shirts! Make them cry ! So lets do it, huh?

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:33 PM, Brettze wrote:

    ICE vehicles leak oil, gasoline, etc on the pavement then it rains ... There it goes down the drainage system and out into the rivers, bays, oceans. Bad bad really rotten bad! Republicans , take notice! Electric Focus and F-150 will not require oil changes nor will they leak oil, gasoline ,etc down the drain system at all. Good , good wonderful!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:34 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Awoooooooooooooooo!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:35 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Just dump big oil stocks and dont worry about what will happen to the stock market until all smog settles.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:35 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Just dump big oil stocks and dont worry about what will happen to the stock market until all smog settles.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:36 PM, Brettze wrote:

    VETO Keystone pipeline now!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:37 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Time to take action is already yesterday!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 3:40 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Stare down and hard at Goldman Sachs and others now! Dont just pretend that they are kind and gentle at all. They are not!****************

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 4:29 PM, FordRules wrote:

    Ford EVs won't sell any more than Teslas even if they are a lot less pricey--not everyone has a place to plug it in. The bourgeois Greenies all are rich enough to own houses where there's a garage with that outlet over the workbench they can plug into for a recharge. As for the rest of us (the condo & apartment bunch) the Greenies say we aren't really "people" anyway, so why should we have cars in the first place?

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:08 PM, Brettze wrote:

    FordRules, you dont understand Oil! If Ford doesnt start electric in any big way, then Ford will not be able to sell as many gas powered cars as now. The rich will be the only ones still able to afford $10 gasoline or they will drive Teslas. The rich will snub Ford Electric Focus, of course. So Ford has no choice but to go big on electric Focus and electric F150. Ford will have to convince that electric F150 is the way to go or many contractors driving ICE F150 will go out of business from $10 gasoline anyway. Big Oil never intends to produce more oil or gasoline to lower prices. Big Oil needs Ford to stay with ICE , no dice! The rich will lose money on oil stocks . We will be driving electric Focus or electric bikes. Oil is finished! Our economy cannot support gasoline prices as they are today because Helicopter Ben is pumping money to support gasoholics directly.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:12 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford loses billions in Europe , why? $8 gasoline over there. When $8 gasoline hits America, Ford will be gone , bye bye! Ecoboost engines is not going to save Ford at all. Natural gas is not going to save Ford. Electric can . Teslas has to be beat in the race toward cheaper electric cars. Ford has no choice but to follow and more importantly... beat Tesla to the Focus and F150. I dont care about how people feel about battery life today. I will just hightail and disappear !

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:14 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Jay Leno will eventually learn to embrace electric ! he got to ...

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:16 PM, Brettze wrote:

    Ford has got to create partnerships with others to set up charging stations , lithium mining, a new array of part suppliers for electric models,etc. and fast!

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 8:16 PM, Brettze wrote:

    GM will be left in the smog with its fantasized fuel cell techology.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 11:18 PM, PurplePanties2 wrote:

    I like the idea of electric BUT unless I have a roof that has enough space to put solar cells to charge it when I'm at home or a wind turbine to charge it, it's not very green.

    My problem with electric cars is that despite their economy, they cost more than gasoline powered cars over their lifetime. The big killer is battery replacement. The other killer is range. I can fill my 21 gallon fuel tank on my SUV for around $70. That will take me around 400 miles. In other words I can drive a good long way. I have a girlfriend 125 miles away from me. I can drive there at 65mph in about 2 hours. I could not do that with an electric car.

    I just read about the new 265mpg Volkswagon. That sounds great until you realise it has very narrow tyres. By the time you've gone a very few thousand miles, you're due for new tyres.

    It seems that there is yet no really inexpensive and worthwhile solution. Perhaps if we could convert gasoline or gas directly to electricity without needing an internal combustion engine then we might be onto something. Until then our internal combustion engines are the least expensive method of transport.

    As far as green is concerned... where's all the electricity coming from to power electric cars? Fossil-fuel powerstations or nuclear powerstations, perhaps?

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2013, at 8:36 PM, eatmysmoke wrote:

    Look before you buy this car is having all kinds of issues the most recent for me is the stop safely now error where the car just shuts down in traffic with little time to pull to the side of the road. The dealers have been unable to pin point the problem. Ford knows about this problem but is doing very little to solve the issue. When someone is killed then they will take note I'm sure. Just go to the forums and see how many people are having this issue and others.

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