Ford is showing its first all-electric sports utility vehicle, or SUV - the Mustang Mach E, marking a major change in the U.S. car industry.
Auto industry reporters got their first look at the new electric vehicle Sunday. The new Mustang can travel between 370 to 480 kilometers before needing an electrical charge.
Experts say the Mustang Mach E marks the start of an increase in electric vehicles offered by top U.S. carmakers.
There are 18 electric vehicle models for sale in the U.S. The research group IHS Markit expects that number to grow to 80 by 2022. New vehicles will include pickup trucks and SUVs that are popular with American buyers.
Last year, electric vehicles made up only 1.5 percent of new vehicle sales worldwide. Auto Industry research company LMC Automotive predicts that will rise to 2.2 percent this year. In the U.S., electric vehicles were only 1.2 percent of sales in 2018. It is expected to be about the same this year.
Automakers, however, see room for growth. They note that electric vehicles are getting 250 miles or more on a single charge. That means a buyer no longer needs to worry about running out of power during a day's usual drive.
Because of the added models and increased power, LMC predicts that they will make up 17 percent of worldwide sales and 7 percent of U.S. sales in 2030.
The first-generation of electric vehicles were simply existing models that were adapted to electricity to meet government fuel economy rules. They did not sell well largely because they could not travel more than 100 miles between charges. But now, many can go farther than the average one-day driving distance.
"Seeing 250 miles as a real thing has been kind of a game changer in the electric car market," said Jake Fisher. He is director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. "There haven't been a lot of choices for (an electric) vehicle that really could take the place of a (gas) vehicle."
Stephanie Brinley is an auto expert for IHS Markit. She said electric vehicle choices may expand before demand, but people will soon begin to buy them.
"The increased number of models with an electric drivetrain will contribute to an increase in sales in the U.S.," she said. "However, there is likely to be a period where the number of (choices) will increase faster than demand and sales for each will be...low," she said.
Many electrics coming in the next few years are from luxury carmakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Aston Martin. But carmakers like Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota are also creating new electric cars, reports Edmunds.com auto website.
Ford and General Motors have announced plans for all-electric pickup trucks that will compete against gas trucks that are the top sellers in the U.S.
For Ford, executives realized in 2017 that they had to offer something special for the first of a new generation of electric vehicles. Last year, the company said it would make a six battery electric vehicle by 2022.
To sell them, Ford decided to go to the company's strengths: pickup trucks and the high-performance Mustang.
"There are going to be plenty of (battery electric) SUVs on the market. Some will have big batteries and double motors and be pretty fast. Some will look really good," said Jason Castriota. He is the company's marketing director for electric vehicles. He believes the Mustang is special. "Mustang is power," he said.
The five-passenger Mach E looks like a traditional Mustang. Engineers say the least costly model will be able to travel about 370 kilometers on one charge. The most costly model will be able to travel 483 kilometers.
Words in This Story：
contribute – v.to help to cause something to happen
luxury– adj.something that is expensive and not necessary
adapt –v. to change something so it operates for a new purpose
battery –n. a device that stores and supplies electricity to machines
motor – n.a machine that produces motion or power for doing work