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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, OCTOBER 4, 2021, carried a provocative page 1 story by Michael Martinez: “Ford Isn’t Waiting—It’s All In On EVs.”
“When Ford Motor Co. introduced the F-150 Lightning in May,” Michael Martinez writes, “CEO Jim Farley said it would be a measuring stick to gauge customer acceptance for electric vehicles.”
Martinez continues, “But Ford had no intention to wait for the results. At that same time, behind the scenes, the automaker was forging ahead on plans for its next-generation electric pickup and a trio of battery plants to power 1 million Ford and Lincoln EVs a year. Those plans crystallized last week in the form of an $11.4 billion investment that will create 11,000 jobs building EVs and batteries in Tennessee and Kentucky. It’s the clearest sign yet that Farley wants Ford to be a major player—if not the leader—in EVs.”
In auto industry terms, this is happening quickly. Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee, 50 miles northeast of Memphis, will open in 2025. The 3600-acre facility will include an assembly plant for the F-150 EV, a battery plant, a supplier park, and trade school. BlueOvalSK in Glendale, Kentucky, about 50 miles south of Louisville, will reflect Ford’s joint venture with Korean battery maker SK.
This addresses a question often asked about EV manufacture: Should automakers became their own battery makers as well? Or should they depend upon suppliers?
Ford CEO Farley told CNBC that it’s important to “in-source” battery production, all the better to avoid matters such as the current global semiconductor shortage. “We have to learn how to manufacture them in this country,” Farley said. “We can no longer import raw materials from halfway around the world.”
Martinez notes, “The early demand has persuaded the automaker to adjust its EV goals; in May, it planned for 40 percent of its global fleet to be EV by 2030, but now Ford says as much as half will.”
So How Soon Before I Go EV? I am “retired,” though SimanaitisSays and a time-gobbling GMax hobby make a mockery of that term. On the other hand, both of these are home-based activities and my trusty 2012 Honda Crosstour’s odometer has only recently exceeded 25,000 miles. In one sense, I should be the prototypical EV owner.
My Rare Crosstour. It’s not that I find EVs out of the ordinary. Indeed, here in Southern California, I see a lot more Teslas in our vehicle mix than Crosstours. (Perhaps an unfair comparison, as Honda discontinued this particular crossover vehicle after the 2015 model year.)
Clean Air. Nor I am averse to the clean-air implications of EV ownership, especially here in California: Unlike some other states, California derives a goody portion of its electric energy from renewable sources. Thus a California EV is much more environmentally friendly that one charged with coal-derived juice.
A Significant Event. As noted by Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2021, “California Just Hit 95% Renewable Energy. Will Other States Come Along for the Ride?”
Roth wrote, “For all the time we spend talking about how to reach 100% clean power, it sometimes seems like a faraway proposition, whether the timeframe is California’s 2045 target or President Biden’s more aggressive 2035 goal. But on Saturday just before 2:30 p.m., one of the world’s largest economies came within a stone’s throw of getting there.”
Several Caveats: The 94.5% figure was a fleeting four-second snapshot taken around 2:30 p.m. on April 29, 2021. The particular power grid measured supplies four-fifths of the state, though not Los Angeles, Sacramento, and several other regions. Roth also noted, “It came at a time of year defined by abundant sunshine and relatively cool weather, meaning it’s easier for renewable power to do the job traditionally done by fossil fuels.”
Still Significant. Nevertheless, it’s a significant achievement added to others elsewhere in the world: Roth noted, “Iceland currently achieves nearly 100 percent of its power from renewable energy. Costa Rica recently powered itself with 100 percent renewable energy for 299 days. But when the world’s fifth-largest economy does it, that should make you sit up in your chair.”
Or in your EV? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021