In the mid-1960s, when Ford was attempting to dethrone Ferrari at Le Mans, then-President Henry Ford II had one directive for his drivers: "Go like hell."
More than a half-century later, Hank the Deuce's nephew called on that phrase to help define the company's first battery-electric crossover, due out next year.
Speaking last week at the Crain's Detroit Business Newsmaker of the Year luncheon, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said the Mustang-inspired vehicle "is going to go like hell."
The callback to that phrase isn't an accident. It underscores a change in strategy for how Ford views its EVs. The company's early forays into electrification included now-discontinued vehicles such as the Focus Electric and C-Max plug-in hybrid that were known more for their fuel economy than performance capabilities.
"When we first started talking about electrification, there was this thought that there had to be a trade-off: It was either going to be green and boring and no fun, or really exciting but burn a lot of fossil fuels," Ford said. "Electrification has come to the point that you can do both."