This week, Ford CEO Jim Farley said one of the top priorities for automakers is to make electric cars more affordable for mainstream buyers. “I’m deeply worried about the affordability,” Farley told the press Saturday during a discussion with Mary Kramer, the director of the annual Detroit Homecoming event, according to the Detroit News. “Average people cannot afford these vehicles and we have a lot of work to do to make them more affordable. That’s the one that keeps me up at night.”
Farley added, “The first generation of electric owners don’t work small commuter, economy cars. They want Mustangs, they want pickup trucks, they want utility vans. They want the best products. The F-150 Lightning is completely sold out in Europe, in the U.S, in China. We have 150,000 orders and the truck isn’t just fast, it’s very fast, but it can power your house for three days. I think this will really change electrification.”
Farley, whose grandfather worked at Ford’s historic Rouge factory, said Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman, “had a vision for this (electric cars) 20 years ago.” [So did I, not that anyone knows or cares.] He believes a key issue for the EV revolution is how production will impact auto workers, since electric cars have 30% fewer parts and need fewer people to assemble them. Other concerns on Farley’s mind are battery supply and the availability of minerals such as lithium and cobalt.
“We have to bring battery production here, but the supply chain has to go all the way to the mines. That’s where the real cost is and people in the U.S. don’t want mining in their neighborhoods,” he said. “So are we going to import lithium and pull cobalt from nation-states that have child labor and all sorts of corruption or are we going to get serious about mining? We have to solve these things and we don’t have much time.”
He also had some thoughts about autonomous cars. “Autonomy is taking longer than we thought, but we still have to solve the second-order problems. Like — do we have dedicated infrastructure for our autonomous vehicles? I don’t think we should wait for regulators to make up their mind. We have to solve this as companies.”
Ford recently reported that its average transaction price in August hit a new record of approximately $50,800 per vehicle, a $9,700 increase over last year. So much for electric cars costing too much, huh?
Audi Q4 40 E-Tron Priced
Picking up on that “electric cars are too expensive” complaint, Audi announced this week that its Q4 40 e-tron electric SUV will start at $44,995, including a $1,095 delivery charge. That, dear reader, is $200 less than Audi’s similarly sized Q5 conventional SUV.
The Q4 40 e-tron is Audi’s version of the Volkswagen ID.4. In general, Audi-branded cars cost about $5,000 more than their Volkswagen cousins. The Q4 50 e-tron starts at $50,995 while the Q4 50 e-tron Sportback — Audi’s version of the ID. 5 — is priced at $53,795. All Audis are still eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, making them almost $8,000 less than the average Ford product. Take that, all you “EVs are too expensive” whiners.
The Q4 40 e-tron comes with a single electric motor rated at 201 hp and 22 pound-feet of torque driving the rear wheels, rear-wheel drive only. Going 0–60 mph takes fewer than 8 seconds according to Audi. No EPA range has been determined as of yet.
Two trims will be available, according to Autoblog. The Premium includes a 12-way powered driver’s seat, heated front seats, panoramic sunroof, LED lighting, and Audi Pre-Sense safety aids. The Premium Plus adds a heated steering wheel with paddles to control the car’s regenerative braking, adaptive cruise control, and a convenience package with a powered passenger seat, wireless phone charging, and a hands-free powered tailgate.
The Q4 50 e-tron and Q4 50 e-tron Sportback both have two electric motors making a combined 295 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. Both are capable of dashing to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds — 2 full seconds quicker than the Q4 40 e-tron. Those cars have an EPA-estimated range of 241 miles. All Q4 models come with an 82 kWh battery.
Those cars have the same trim levels as the entry-level cars but add a Prestige option that includes Matrix LED headlights, headlight and taillight animations, headlight washers, a heads-up display, and a Technology Package that features MMI Navigation Plus, virtual cockpit plus, and Sonos premium audio. The Sportback rides on 20″ wheels and tires while the others make do with 19″ items.
In the US, Audi drivers are eligible for 250 kWh of free charging via the Electrify America network, whose 125 kW DC fast chargers can replenish the battery from a 5% SOC to 80% in ~40 minutes. The Q4 e-tron configurator for American customers is live now on Audi’s website.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.