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Ford Slows Its Push Into Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor on Thursday delayed the production of at least two new electric cars and said it would pivot to making more hybrids. Its decision was the latest sign that large automakers have been forced to rethink their strategy for electric vehicles because sales for those models are slowing.

The shift by Ford and automakers like General Motors and Mercedes-Benz, which have also pushed back their electric car plans, has been prompted largely by the companies’ difficulties in making and selling enough electric cars and doing so profitably.

Sales of such vehicles are still growing, but the pace has slowed sharply in recent months as automakers have tapped out many of the early adopters who were willing to spend more than $50,000 on a new battery-powered car. Because they are still learning how to make the cars and their batteries at lower cost, the companies have not been able to bring out more affordable models.

“Many companies rushed in too fast with E.V.s that were too expensive and there was not as much of a market for them as they thought,” Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for transportation and mobility at the research firm Guidehouse Insights, said. “That’s made it a lot tougher to sell those vehicles.”

Some consumers are also reluctant to buy electric models because they can’t charge the vehicles at home or are worried that there won’t be enough public chargers available when they want to travel more than a couple of hundred miles.

Many car buyers interested in electric vehicles appear to be choosing hybrid cars, which can cost just a few hundred dollars more than comparable gasoline-only models and in some cases offer much better fuel economy. Those cars are also easier for consumers to get used to because they don’t have to be plugged in and are fueled like conventional models.

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