The head of Ford Motor Co. has said its engineers have done a thorough hands-on analysis of a Tesla Model S and may eventually build their own larger all-electric vehicle.
“We drove it. We took it apart. We put it back together and we drove it again,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields Friday in response to Wall Street investment analysts during a conference call.
His point was Ford has the engineering capability to produce an all-electric vehicle with Tesla-like range and better performance than the Focus Electric. He did not say a Model S would be copied, but some form of larger-sized vehicle is possible.
“It’s consistent with our product philosophy,” Fields said speaking of its emphasis on alternative energy technology.
Unlike a manufacturer that might reverse engineer and clone a Model S, like China’s JAC tried unsuccessfully with Ford’s F-150 a couple years ago, Ford would make its larger purpose-built EV all Ford.
Untold is when a Ford-branded EV as impressive as a Model S might be formulated, or any other details. The idea is simply on the table for Ford.
And really, this possibility has been known all along, not just for Ford, but most major automakers have the engineering chops to take on such a project and the idea has been suggested before.
Tesla knows the majors could produce more-competitve EVs too, and as a disruptor has shown it is hoping to goad others to follow, having gone so far as to offer its patents for free.
To date, U.S. manufacturers instead have more-often served up compliance cars such as the Chevy Spark EV, Honda Fit EV, Fiat 500e, etc.
Ford has so far not built a ground-up EV, but its converted Focus Electric is not a compliance car. It does sell it in all 50 states and has dropped the price from $39,995 to $29,995 in two price cuts in the past year and a half.
Now the head of Ford has said the company could take Tesla’s bait and EV advocates and perhaps even Tesla can only hope it will.