Jim Farley: Ford’s next electric SUV will be a ‘personal bullet train’

In an effort to survive the transition to smart electric and autonomous vehicles, Ford CEO Jim Farley is working on a new three-row SUV that’s so fast he calls it a “personal bullet train.”

The future vehicle should offer 300 miles of range even when driving at 70 miles per hour thanks to a strict focus on efficiency that minimizes the size, and therefore the cost, of the high-voltage battery in the third.

More importantly, however, it must compete in an underserved segment where pricing power is strong and customers are willing to pay more for the kind of high-tech software that currently is mark its main competitor in the EV market, Tesla.

“That’s the big change for the company, it’s really outside the four walls of physical hardware,” Farley analysts said on Monday.

Ford didn’t give a glimpse of the car’s future design but explained that different aerodynamics mean it won’t look like the same combustion engine Expedition three-row SUV.

The new crossover is scheduled to launch in 2025 on a dedicated EV platform that will also underpin an electric pickup truck that it previously teased with the working title “T3”.

The duo, which has been under development for several years now, forms the initial wave of second-generation EVs built from the ground up and funded by a comprehensive $50 billion investment package through 2026. .

They followed earlier EV models including the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning that were derived from combustion engine vehicles with all the compromises and trade-offs that reduced performance and range.

Farley sees price war ‘coming like a freight train’

Speaking at the company’s investor day, Farley confided in analysts that the Mach-E two-row crossover feels the intense price pressure amid a pincer movement of leading EV premium and volume brands, Tesla and BYD.

Sales of the two-row crossover fell a fifth in the first three months of this year, relegating Ford to third place behind GM’s Tesla and Chevrolet in the US market, according to research firm Cox Automotive.

The escape plan to be crushed between the hinges of the escape into product segments such as three-row SUV, where the industry does not see an influx of excess capacity, the customers are not spoiled for choice, and buyers do not shop based on price.

“So in the second cycle we want to go into the areas where customers are using the data and the software more intensively,” he said.

“Have a personal bullet train that goes 300 miles at 70 miles an hour—safety and security, [hands-off driving feature] Blue Cruise — that software stuff is perfect for that kind of concept car. “

The boss of Ford’s EV and software division, formerly Apple and Tesla exec Doug Field, said he wants to make second-generation electric models like the “bullet train” SUV so engaging to drive with the help of software and infotainment that “it doesn’t need wheels to drive.” be a good product”.

If successful, Ford will avoid being run over by Tesla, BYD and other new EV manufacturers from China such as Geely, SAIC and Changan, which Farley said have proven to be faster in developing affordable EVs. electric vehicle than most of the leading automakers.

“We see it coming like a freight train,” Farley said. “If your EV strategy depends on a two-row crossover now, you better have the costs of a BYD to compete.”

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