During a speech at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Green conference in California earlier this week, Ford CEO Alan Mulally spilled the beans on what it costs for a battery in the company’s Focus Electric, which is between $12,000 and $15,000.
“When you move into an all-electric vehicle, the battery size moves up to around 23 kilowatt hours,” he said. “It weighs 600 to 700 pounds and they’re around $12,000 to $15,000 for a car [in conventional gasoline form] that normally sells around $22,000. So you can see why the economics are what they are.”
Based on the information Ford’s CEO provided, the automaker pays somewhere between $552 and $650 per kilowatt-hour for EVs like the Focus Electric, which is currently priced at $39,200.
Although the U.S. Department of Energy has set a target of lowering the cost of batteries to around $300 per kilowatt-hour, in Ford’s case the idea of realizing significant production volumes for cars like the Focus Electric isn’t a high priority, at least for now.
Because the EV version is based on the conventional gasoline-engine Focus, which sells in high volume, Ford says it can afford to distribute the EV in relatively small numbers. Late last year, just 10 examples were sold to fleet customers, though more Focus Electric models are now rolling off the Wayne, Michigan assembly line, alongside their gasoline counterparts.
Although priced slightly higher than the $35,200 Nissan Leaf , Ford says the Focus Electric can go a distance of 76 miles before needing a charge, a scooch further that the Leaf’s declared real world range of 73. Furthermore, by using a 240-volt charger, the Ford’s battery pack can replenished in just 3.5 hours compared to the Leaf ‘s present 6-7 hour recharge time with a 240-volt charger.