With hybrid technology rapidly trickling into every sphere of the automotive realm, from basic passenger cars to high performance halo vehicles – not to mention the attention garnered by “pure” EVs like the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf – one might assess that an age dominated by the electric vehicle is just around the corner.
But Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford isn’t holding his breath.
Speaking to online news site Quartz, Bill Ford said that so far, “batteries have proven to be rather tough customers.” Ford Motor Company is, of course, developing its own battery technology while other major automakers do the same, but at the heart of the difficulty with EV batteries is a very high cost-to-energy-capacity ratio. In fact, the lithium-ion battery pack used in the Tesla Model S is by most accounts the single biggest contributor to its expense.
In other words, it will likely take one or more battery technology breakthroughs to truly cement “pure” EVs as a viable option. Bill Ford admits: “Trying to predict battery breakthroughs is something that’s beyond my capability.”
Instead of counting on such a major development, Executive Chairman Bill Ford says that in the meantime, plug-in hybrids may be the best alternative. “One of the things that for our industry is a really good technology, which perhaps is a bridging technology but may be a bridge for awhile, is the plug-in hybrid.”
Mr. Bill Ford continued: “If your daily driving is in San Francisco, you never leave battery. But if you want to drive to LA for the weekend, no problem. You start on the battery and then the internal combustion engine takes over.”