Ford is developing an electric car line-up that will carry the Model E name, which will launch in 2019.
Ford’s new foray into the electric car market will include a compact SUV, as well as a smaller Focus-based Tesla Model 3 rival. The cars will be offered as EV, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid variants - similar to Hyundai's strategy with the Ioniq - it has been confirmed to Autocar, and will have a 200-mile range.
The Blue Oval blocked Tesla’s attempts to trademark the Model E moniker in 2013. This meant the electric car maker chose the Model 3 name for its forthcoming entry-level electric car, and leaves Model E free for Ford to use.
Currently, Ford offers an electric version of its Focus model, which is said to be replaced later this year.
The manufacturer has been clear in its aim not to sell its electric offerings at a loss, and it’s thought this ethos will continue for the Model E vehicles, which could mean they will be realistically priced - and priced to cover costs.
Prices for Tesla’s new electric car have not been confirmed, but when it reaches the UK late next year it’s thought it'll cost around £35,000. At present, the Ford Focus Electric retails for £31,395 but only has a range of 76 miles, while the Model Es will get a 200-mile range, according to Autonews. The next-generation Focus Electric will get a 100-mile range.
A spokesperson said the Model E line-up will be aimed at markets showing the biggest electrification potential, however the manufacturer has not yet committed to launching the cars in the UK.
Ford outlined its plans to invest $4.5 billion (around £3.4 billion) in electric cars last year; it will release 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020.
The news follows Ford’s announcement that it will bring a commercial fully-autonomous car with no pedals or steering wheel to the mass market in 2021. Ford has not yet said what powertrains will be used for that car.