The five-seat electric SUV segment is overcrowded, according to Ford, which is why it’s looking to develop an electric seven-seater.
US auto giant Ford is hoping to differentiate itself in the growing electric-car market by offering a battery-powered seven-seat SUV.
During the company’s first-quarter earnings calls, Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed the US manufacturer was looking beyond the five-seat electric SUV segment, which he said was at “overcapacity”.
“We could see the overcapacity in the (five-seater) electric utility segment years ago,” Mr Farley said, as reported by the UK’s Autocar.
“In contrast to (five-seater) crossovers that we believe will be a very saturated market, we believe [our electric vehicles] can be highly differentiated in markets where we know the customer well, like the (seven-seater SUV) space.”
The company believes it can introduce a new set of customers to electric cars by expanding into segments that have been under-represented by electric models.
“A lot of new customers bought [an F-150] Lightning that never owned a pick-up truck before. And we intend to do that with a (seen-seat SUV) and with a bunch of (electric commercial) vehicles,” Mr Farley said.
There’s no word on whether the electric seven-seat SUV will be a ‘Lightning’ version of the Ford Explorer or Expedition – which are already popular seven-seaters in North America – or if the company will introduce an all-new model.
However, with the petrol-powered Ford Expedition traditionally sharing its platform with the F-150, creating a new seven-seat SUV ‘Expedition Lightning’ body to be underpinned by F-150 Lightning electrictric pick-up architecture makes sense, given the battery-electric platform has already been fully developed and is in production.
These digital illustrations by Brazilian artist Kleber Silva provide an idea of what a Ford Expedition Lightning could look like (above and top).
As reported by Drive in September 2022, the Ford F-150 Lightning could eventually follow the petrol-powered F-150 to Australia.
Ford Australia is currently preparing the F-150 for local sale later this year, with right-hand-drive remanufacturing expected to begin mid-2023.