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Ford’s Mulally Prepared for Gradual Growth in Battery Car Demand

Ford Motor Co. (F) (F)’s Alan Mulally says the carmaker’s goal to more than double deliveries of electric- drive autos won’t stall should initial sales of the new battery- powered Focus hatchback start at a slower-than-planned pace.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company this month is selling the $39,200 electric Focus that averages 76 miles (122 kilometers) per charge, without providing a volume target. Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Leaf hatchback, with a $35,200 base price and averaging 73 miles per charge, sold 9,674 units in its first full year.

Even selling fewer than 5,000 Focus EVs in the first year wouldn’t be a failure, Mulally, Ford’s chief executive officer, told reporters yesterday in Laguna Niguel, California.

“No, because we believe that the electrification of vehicles is going to continue as the battery cost comes down, as we move to generate electricity cleanly,” Mulally said at a conference hosted by Fortune magazine. “We see this as continually growing. This is a long-term journey.”

The average price of lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicles fell 14 percent in the past year as production capacity exceeded demand, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. Batteries cost $689 a kilowatt-hour in the first quarter of 2012, compared with $800 a year earlier, the London-based research company said today in a statement.


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