These automakers' large gas-powered vehicle efforts will continue and grow for years to come.
According to a recent report by Reuters, shared on Autoblog:
"Trucks and SUVs are 82% of Ford and GM sales — by 2026, they'll increase to 87%."
"The two biggest U.S. automakers will make more than 5 million SUVs and pickup trucks in 2026, but only about 320,000 electric vehicles, according to detailed production plans for North America seen by Reuters."
While these numbers show that EVs may make eventually make up about 5 percent of the two automakers' total North American output, it doesn't even add up to the number of electric cars Tesla produced in 2019.
This is all because OEMs make big margins on luxury vehicles and large trucks and SUVs. So much so that some have stopped making most compact cars and sedans altogether. Keep in mind, this was already happening way before the coronavirus closed up manufacturing facilities and has forced GM and Ford to be looking for ways to stay afloat.
Added to the equation, oil prices are very low right now, which means gas is cheap. This situation surely doesn't help encourage EV adoption. If people aren't willing to buy electric cars, and they're low-margin vehicles for OEMs, why should they ramp up efforts to produce them?
In the past, even when these automakers did attempt to make a splash with EVs, consumer interest was not really present. GM's Chevrolet Bolt EV is a perfect example. Ford's efforts haven't been to that level, but we can say that vehicles like its Focus Electric and Fusion Energi (plug-in hybrid) have barely moved the EV sales needle. We can only hope the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E will make a notable impact. However, it has been a long time coming.
Back in 2017, at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said:
"We’re all in on this. We’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them."
More recently, AutoForecast's Same Fiorani shared:
"GM and Ford understand that buyers want more SUVs and trucks, but they’re also trying to play to Wall Street, which thinks the future is all about electric vehicles. The Detroit automakers would love to get a little of that Tesla magic and money."
In the end, it's important to note that whether or not companies like GM and Ford want to move forward with EVs may not matter as much as the reality surrounding the situation. Add the current global pandemic to the equation and we may not see significant progress for many years.
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