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Ford's Prius-busting Model E slowly taking shape according to new report

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On: Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 1:13PM | By: Carl Malek

Ford's Prius-busting Model E slowly taking shape according to new report

With Chevrolet putting the final touches on its Bolt EV, a new report from  Automotive News  says that Ford has not missed a beat and is preparing a new eco-friendly hatchback to target rivals such as the Bolt, Toyota Prius, and the Hyundai Ioniq and firmly establishing its position as a leader in creating innovative technology for the growth of EV and alternative fuel vehicles.

Dubbed the "Model E," the new hatchback would be the physical fruit of a recent trademark filing that the company submitted to the U.S. Patent Office in December of 2013. When it eventually arrives in dealer lots, the compact would be available either as a conventional hybrid model, a plug-in hybrid, or an all-electric vehicle. This three-step model lineup would allow the car to appeal to a wider range of green vehicle buyers. Consequently, the Model E would replace the slow-selling C-Max Hybrid, as well as the current generation Focus Electric in a move to help rationalize Ford's eco-friendly lineup.

The Model E would be built on the same platform as the next generation Ford Focus which is expected to arrive sometime in 2018. However, the Model E would stand out, thanks to model-exclusive styling. While it is currently too early to know what it will eventually look like, expect the Model E to largely mirror its three rivals with a hatchback-esque shape while being designed with maximum aerodynamic efficiency and driving range in mind. The Model E is expected to be unveiled in 2018; it is most likely the new hybrid model will be built Ford's new $1.6 billion dollar factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico—alongside the 2018 Ford Focus. This decision has proven to be controversial with several presidential candidates and the UAW; they criticize Ford for not keeping production of both models in the U.S. and providing jobs for American citizens.

The Model E's simple name is derived not only from its electric powertrain, it's an echo of historic Ford models that have carried letter-based monikers, including the Model A and the Model T. It was reported that Tesla eyed the use of the Model E name and tried to protect it from Ford in 2014. At the time it was assumed that the company planned to have the E coincide with the Model Y, X, and Model S in spelling out the word "sexy". However, Ford had already filed for the name; as a result, Tesla's sedan was renamed "Model 3" and the rest was history.

In addition to its name, the Model E would also benefit from Ford's recent moves in both the vehicle sharing and social media segments of the market with the company perhaps tailoring the Model E's interior technology to allow it to have a high level of connectivity with smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as laptops and other computer devices.


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