DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has no immediate plans to chase General Motors, Nissan and Tesla in the electric car range race.
Kevin Layden, Ford's director of electrification programs and engineering, said the 100-mile range coming this fall in the 2017 Focus Electric -- up from the 2016 model's 76 miles -- is enough distance to cover the daily commute of most drivers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SAE World Congress last week here, Layden said keeping the car's range at 100 miles will help rein in weight and cost. The lower range enables the use of a smaller, lighter and less expensive battery pack, Layden said.
But during a panel discussion last week on the future of electric cars, several speakers said a range of at least 200 miles is needed to alleviate consumers' range anxiety about battery-powered cars.
"I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population," said Layden. "It's going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now."
This fall, GM will launch the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, a compact electric car that GM says will go at least 200 miles on a single charge, while Tesla is promising its Model 3 compact sedan will be able to drive 215 miles on a charge. And Nissan plans to launch a redesigned Leaf in 2018 with a promised 200-mile range.
In December, Ford committed $4.5 billion to rejuvenate its electrified vehicle lineup.