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Could Ford become the Dell of electric vehicles?

Auto giant touts innovative build-to-order production model ahead of next month’s launch of Ford Focus Electric

Ford is on track for the full US launch of its Ford Focus Electric next month, after successfully delivering the first wave of vehicles to commercial partners, such as Google, Florida Power and Light, and Microsoft, late last year.

Speaking to BusinessGreen on the sidelines of the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Mike Tinskey, director of vehicle electrification at the auto giant, said the company had received plenty of pre-orders for the car ahead of its public launch in April, although he declined to reveal a precise number.

He added that the firm was planning to “de-risk” the roll out of the new model by using an innovative “build-to-order” similar to that pioneered by PC manufacturer Dell.

Under the model, Ford dealers across the US will boast one demonstration vehicle and customers will then be able to order the car and receive their model within around four to six weeks.

“We’ve taken a different approach to other EV manufacturers in that we are producing the Focus EV on the same production line as the gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions,” he explained. “There are simply too many variables impacting the market that we have no control over, so this gives us real flexibility. If the price of crude rises and demand for EVs climbs we can produce more EVs and fewer gas vehicles.”

The company is initially planning to roll out the Focus Electric to dealers in New York, New Jersey, and California, ahead of a nationwide roll out over the summer and autumn. A European launch is also slated for later this year.

The car boasts a similar range and top speed to other electric cars in the market, covering around 100 miles on a full charge and reaching speeds of up to 84 miles per hour.
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