Wanted: The 'Model T' of Electric Cars
Not that long ago, I ruffled the feathers of the Tesla (NAS: TSLA) flock by suggesting that the acceptance of the electric car might be better served by the introduction of commuter-oriented, affordable electric vehicles for the masses, rather than drag racing "hood ornaments for the eco-conscious wealthy."
My argument was that it took millions of Model Ts pouring out of Henry Ford's factories for the automobile to become something more than a luxury item, and that it will take a magnitude of electric vehicles on the road, more than Tesla could ever sell at a starting price of $57,400 (for the Model S sedan, before any tax credits) for the electric car to ever be taken for a practical transportation alternative -- not to mention, a profitable product.
What would Henry do?
Here comes Ford (NYS: F) again, a century after the Model T was introduced, announcing its commitment to the future of the electric vehicle, with a $135 million investment in next-generation batteries and other electric vehicle components. It is also, according to this release, "dedicating a 285,000-square-foot research and development lab ... to focus almost entirely on hybrids and electrification." Ford's newly introduced Focus Electric should be the recipient of any breakthroughs this dedication to electrics should bring.
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