Any automaker that wants to live knows it will have to sell only EVs at some point. What they are trying to manage is how much longer they will still be able to milk their investments in the combustion engine before it dies. Making the most of it may imply they do not have to shrink or go bust with ICE technologies. Ford knows that, but it is starting to publicly admit it after Jim Farley said the F-150 Lightning was the beginning of a new era.
Another voice inside the company saying that Ford’s future is electric is Kumar Galhotra. To Automotive News, Ford's president of the Americas and international markets group said he could easily see a point in which all vehicles sold by Ford are electric.
In Europe, the company already said that this would happen in 2030. The decision there came from politicians and the regulations they have created to cut carbon emissions. As a result, Volkswagen had to put the ID.3 for sale way before it was ready for the market to avoid fines. Without the EV, the company would have had to pay billions in penalties.
In the US, it seemed the government would let the market regulate itself when that time would come. In other words, it would heavily depend on customers wanting to buy EVs and automakers willing to sell them at reasonable prices. This is why cost parity between electric cars and combustion-engined vehicles is so crucial for the automotive industry. However, Joe Biden’s plans to promote EVs might have changed that.
With Jim Hackett at the helm, Ford was happy to buy its cells from the suppliers who had the best prices. After Farley became the honcho on October 1, 2020, Biden was still in his presidential campaign. On November 23, the election results came out.
Only Farley and Ford will ever know how much Biden’s victory changed the plans. However, Hau Thai-Tang credited the change to Farley. According to Ford's chief product platform and operations officer, the CEO aims to “lead the electric revolution.” Under Hackett, Thai-Tang said that investing in battery production could leave Ford with obsolete technology. Perhaps this has changed as well.
Ford has just announced more investments in Solid Power. This company wants to make many sorts of solid-state batteries with the current production methods – and even with the same NMC 811 cathode most lithium-ion cells use. Ford may finally have the breakthrough it needed for a safe transition.