Trevor Collett | May 2, 2016

Ford is preparing to enter the ‘affordable’ electric vehicle fray, by developing a direct rival for Chevrolet’s Bolt and the Tesla Model 3.

That’s the word out of the US, with industry paper Automotive News quoting none other than Ford CEO Mark Fields as confirming the new model.

Both the Bolt and the Model 3 have starting prices around the US$35,000 mark, and each is capable of up to 350km from a full charge.

Even before a single example has been built and sold, the Tesla Model 3 appears to be a runaway success with 276,000 deposits collected by the US carmaker in the first three days alone.

Nissan’s Leaf is also on Ford’s radar, as it is expected to join the ‘200-mile range club’ (320km) in the next two years. Ford, meanwhile, currently offers its Focus Electric (pictured) with a 122km maximum range.

Naturally, Ford wants a larger slice of EV sales action, with Fields saying the carmaker intends to play at the pointy end of the sales chart.

“[Ford wants to be] among the leaders or in a leadership position,” Fields said. “Clearly that’s something we’re developing for.”

But beyond confirmation that Ford is working on a Model 3 and Bolt competitor, the CEO is giving little away.

Reports suggest Ford’s reservation of the ‘Model E’ name may see the name adorn the rear of its midsized EV.

Tesla had originally sought to use the name Model E instead of Model 3 alongside its existing Model S and Model X, but Ford refused to relinquish the rights.

Ford may also reportedly follow in the wheel-tracks of Hyundai’s Ioniq, which will be offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and an all-electric model in various markets.

The carmaker is almost certain to target the same US$35,000 starting price as its rivals for the Model E EV, should it wear that name, and a starting date for production of 2019 has been suggested.

Stay tuned to TMR for more.

MORE: Fiat Chrysler CEO Open To Tesla Model 3 Rival But Less Open To Small Mergers
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Ford | EV | Tesla

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