If anyone doubts Ford’s commitment to electric vehicles, consider this: According to Automotive News, the automaker has produced more of the electric version of the Mustang this year than the gasoline-powered version.
So far in 2021, Ford has built 27,816 Mustang Mach-E models -- the electric version of its iconic sports car. That compares with 26,089 traditional Mustang models that have rolled off the assembly line so far this year.
Ford didn’t sell all those cars, but the Mach-E version was the best-selling car in Norway last month. In the U.S., however, consumers have purchased three times more gas-powered Mustangs than the Mach-E models.
Last month, Ford took the wraps off its electric pick-up truck, the F-150 Lightning. At that event, Ford CEO Jim Farley said the company expects 40% of its models to be electric within nine years. If that turns out to be the case, then consumers may have to rapidly change their attitudes towards electric vehicles. Sales have increased in recent years but are a fraction of total vehicle sales in the U.S.
In a 2012 report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that consumer demand for these vehicles was lacking when the U.S. government was trying to promote them.
“If demographic profiles of EV early adopters are accurate, most surveys indicate that the initial market size is quite limited,” the authors wrote.
Tesla has done a lot to popularize electric vehicles since then, but battery range and sticker price have remained headwinds. A study published in April in Nature Energy looked into the reason that many California buyers have gone back to gasoline-powered transportation. In short, the researchers found that a number of electric vehicle owners consider the cars to be a hassle.
“We show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with the convenience of charging, having other vehicles in the household that are less efficient, not having level 2 (240-volt) charging at home, having fewer household vehicles, and not being male,” the authors of that study wrote.
The volts supplied by the outlet charging the vehicle appear to be a key factor. Standard home outlets -- the kind you might have in your garage -- supply only 120 volts of electricity. It could take days to fully charge an electric vehicle battery.
In fact, the study found many of consumers’ concerns about the technology were the same as the EPA identified nine years ago: price differential, range, recharging infrastructure, and speed of the recharge.