Tesla wanted to call its new Model 3 the Model E. Model E however, is a name that Ford trademarked in 2013. When Ford heard what Tesla was about to do, they blocked the move.
According to HybridCars.com:
“Ford is reportedly working on a hybrid model under that name that is meant to be a Toyota-Prius fighter, and it’s possible this car could spawn plug-in hybrid and EV variants.”
Another report by AutoEvolution.com tells us that production of the car has been confirmed by Ford CEO Mark Fields. Rumors, however, suggest that Model E could be built in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. That plant, we hear, is being reworked to the tune of $1.6 billion, which is where the next Ford Focus will be built. The plant’s renovation begins this summer, however, production of new vehicles is not set to begin until 2018 at least. With the refurbishing of the San Luis Potosi plant, Ford hopes to create 2,800 jobs by 2020.
Once the plant is ready, it will churn out anywhere between 300,000 and 350,000 units. Model E, we hear, could make up to 50,000 units of that.
Ford has yet to build a truly efficient alternative to the Toyota Prius. Ford does offer the C-Max and Plug-in in hybrid variants. Both these cars are positioned against Toyota as well. However, as alternatives they haven’t been as successful in the past against Toyota’s massive sales numbers.
HybridCars.com also says:
“A counter example of a much-closer to Prius-spec contender is the Hyundai Ioniq which matches or beats the Prius on several meaningful powertrain efficiency categories. The Fords are larger, and more powerful, but less efficient on gas, and in any case, it may be Ford sees the need for something more.”
If the Model E rumor turns true, Ford is looking at a platform solely dedicated to creating electrified power trains. We hear that if and when Ford reveals its big plans, Model E will follow in the footsteps of the Hyundai Ioniq, which has three models with the same body but different power trains. Prius and Ioniq are hatchbacks and we assume Model E will be one too. The Model E is expected to have a 200-mile range, which would be excellent for an electric vehicle.
Will Ford make a big comeback in the hybrid car sector with Model E? We will know soon enough.