Ford Authority

Former Ford CEO Says EV Pivot May Take Longer Than Expected

Ford is investing $50 billion in electrification with a goal of producing two million EVs annually by 2026, and is in the midst of erecting multiple, massive production facilities to aid in those efforts. The same can be said of many other automakers, each of which is keen to gain a competitive advantage in this emerging market, too. However, while some – including current Ford CEO Jim Farley – believe this transition is occurring faster than expected, former Ford CEO Mark Fields isn’t quite as optimistic, according to The Street.

“We’re at a bit of a make-or-break moment for the industry when it comes to EVs. You’ve got a lot of capacity, a lot of new products,” Fields said in a recent interview, noting that EV inventory is growing at a faster rate than ICE vehicles over the past few months, as Ford Authority reported last week. However, he also noted that “EV demand is not keeping up with production.”

“If you look at history in industries, when you think of Netflix, when they went from sending DVDs to streaming them, there was a big issue around ‘can that company make that transition,'” Fields said. “I think they were successful, but the key there is they made lives easier for consumers. Right now, with EVs, If you’re making, at least initially, life more difficult for consumers, they usually take the path of least resistance. It’s going to happen, but there’s a mismatch amongst the industry and analysts around how fast that’s going to happen.”

At the end of June, EV inventory in the U.S. reached a 103 days’ supply – nearly double the total market’s level of 53 days’ supply. However, Darren Palmer, vice president, Electric Vehicle Programs, Ford Model e, recently stated that he isn’t concerned about this massive growth, instead pointing to the fact that much of it is due to a significant ramp up in production, which is a direct result of an improved supply chain over the first half of the year.

We’ll have more on the ongoing EV transition soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson II

    The EV market is so contorted with government intervention it is hard to tell what will happen. Mr. Fields hits the nail on the head with, “the key there is they made lives easier for consumers” and EVs certainly do not. Under a true free market, I’d say EVs would be very limited in the near future and slowly grow over time. However, our state and federal governments have taken to using sledgehammers on us citizens, so who knows what will happen. They could slap a $5/gallon tax on ICEs to kill off the market.

  2. John

    Farley is off his rocker if he thinks that everyone will outright drop their gas powered cars for his EVs. Last I heard, Ford had a tremendous overstock of their EVs quite simply because the production of these vehicles are likely far outpacing what they are selling. Sounds like they’re selling real well…

  3. Retired Dealer

    Why would I listen to whatever Fields has to say, he was a lousy CEO who came close to ruining Ford.

  4. eRock9202

    This is literally what every level-headed person is saying; both EV proponents and EV skeptics (in the USA). Despite what fanatics are saying, most people agree that EV are both the future and not currently universally viable. Right now, EVs are great for upper middle class or higher individuals and family where daily commutes are short distances and home charging is available. That’s currently a limited number of people. As the infrastructure improves and battery technology advances, EV’s will one day just make sense for everyone from low income apartment dwellers to the top 1%. We’re just not there yet. Unfortunately, the loudest one’s on the internet are the vocal minorities of EV apologists and EV conspiracists, and major news outlets treat these groups as if they speak for all of us.

  5. edthek

    All the early adopters bought their EV’s. The masses are still sitting on the sidelines. They still see drawbacks to battery cars that range from range, to apartment dwellers who have no access to charging, to flaming battery packs that makes the GM ignition switch issue look tame… Most will wait till the price is more affordable and they know battery packs can go 150K miles like an ICE engine can.
    Sad prediction, the Car Co’s will be ready to build so many EV’s that they will actually demand the government make ICE engines regulated out of existence. Industry did this to the Edison Lightbulb. No one wanted the flickery CFL’s. Goverment regulators will gleefully jump at this just like they did and are doing to Toilets, Shower Heads, Gas Stoves, Gas Furnaces, and Gas Hot Water Heaters…

    1. David Dickinson II

      I fear your prediction of heavy-handed government intervention is correct. There is a glimmer of hope in that the Supreme Court has set to limiting the authority of federal agencies, and bureaucratic power is (finally) waning.

  6. Ed Telehowski

    I find this comment by Darren Palmer to be strange—-
    At the end of June, EV inventory in the U.S. reached a 103 days’ supply – nearly double the total market’s level of 53 days’ supply. However, Darren Palmer, vice president, Electric Vehicle Programs, Ford Model e, recently stated that “he isn’t concerned about this massive growth, instead pointing to the fact that much of it is due to a significant ramp up in production, which is a direct result of an improved supply chain over the first half of the year.”

    Wow! You solved the supply chain issues, ramp up production, BUT, your customer base demand does not match your production rate! Build them and put them in inventory is not a viable sales strategy. That leads to quality issues and rebates. When will you reduce production levels to meet demand and recognize that the buying public is not as interested as your “pie-in-the-sky” projections of demand.

  7. Francois

    Reality is starting to set in. According to an article in this month’s C&D issue: “If you fill-up a high capacity battery EV at Electrify America on your road trip, you’re paying the equivalent to $16.84 per gallon” That’s what happens when heavy handed governments screw around with the free market: Profiteering sets in, the consumers are stuck with the (Heavy) bill. So in addition to paying over $50K average for your EV you’re paying more for fill-ups too. But they’re so efficient right? $50 bucks to charge a 100 Kwh EV and go 300 miles is far more than the $40 I spend to drive the same 300 miles in my Family Edge ST… And it takes about 5-7 minutes to fill up and I easily go over 400 miles on a tank.

  8. Bill

    EV’s better take off because most manufactures have put all there eggs in that basket. right now that basket has a hole in the bottom and if that continues the Manufactures are Fu–ed!!!!!!!!

    1. Mf

      I suspect that these bets on EV will take out at least one of the domestics. To be honest, I think industry wide there will be a lot of failures and consolidations. I could see GM being absorbed into another company, and likely bailouts to others.

  9. Dave

    The only reason for this big EV push by the auto makers is because of the government incentives and loans to force this down the public’s throats. Ford just got a 92 billion dollar loan to build a battery plant in Michigan , plus a ton of incentives from the state ! Do you really think that they would be doing this if they had to fund this themselves ? Think about that.
    I am sure they have been promised that a Democrat will stay in power to keep this going after 2024 , so they go into this full steam ahead ! They will do everything to make sure this happens , because if Trump or someone like him with his same thoughts gets into office in 2024 , the auto companies will be in deep crap when the new leader cancels all the EV , related green energy incentives , government money dries up , we start producing oil on our own again , and gas prices come down to below $2.00 a gallon ! All these billion dollar plants and Ev’s will be sitting idle , while the auto makers try to figure out what to do next !

    1. Mf

      You’re also missing the venture capitalists. Big banks like va guard and black rock really control things behind the scenes, because they dictate what’s “investable” based on their beliefs about a company. They’re also large enough to be able to sway companies into making the wrong choices for their gain.

      Example, of I’m an investment fund, and I acquired a battery maker and some.other similar companies. I can use my.leverage (and my threat to dump your stock) to force you to invest into areas that will make my other investments more money. I can exert this control either via being a large shareholder and being able to force the ousting of leaders, or by the threat of dumping all your stock at once, triggering a massive, automated, sell off of your stock crippling your company.

      The VC guys are pulling the strings at the government and of the industry.

  10. Ford Owner

    Every car manufactufer is switching to electrics, some quickly while others (Toyota) take more time. But by 2040 there will be no new ICEV in production.

    1. David Dickinson II

      Travel a bit and see how the “real world” actually lives. You think that the 1B Indians are going to switch over to electric? That won’t happen. Toyota is the only global car company, and they know what will work and what won’t for the world as a whole. We will have ICEs for hundreds of years.

  11. MARK

    I think most auto companies are mis-reading the market. There will be a great demand for BEV’s when they are providing more vehicles like the VW ID2-all and the Volvo EX30. Also an updated Chevy Bolt. Most EV shoppers and buyers are informed and know pretty much what is going on in the EV market. When you see everyone correctly standardizing on the NACS charging connector you are likely to wait for the updated product. Also the LFP batteries should bring down the price and weight as people realize that a shorter range EV, i.e. 250 miles of range is acceptable when you can fully recharge in 15 to 20 minutes.
    Also taking into account the high interest rates today for financing or leasing, you need to have BEV choices in the $25000 to $35000 range with NACS charging connectors.
    I feel bad for any dealer trying to move a new BEV today that has the CCS connector. Consumers will know it is already obsolete, so they will be looking for an extremely good lease deal. Bring it on! I would lease one for zero down and $350/month for 36 months.

    1. MARK

      I’d also like to add that we are only 2 years away from price parity (2025 or 2026) and a couple years after that (2028) BEV’s will be substantially cheaper to purchase and operate than ICE vehicles. By 2030 any manufacturer still building and trying to sell ICE vehicles (with the exception of large trucks) will be facing bankruptcy. How would you sell an ICE vehicle for $3000 more than a BEV vehicle of similar size and features. Things will be progressing fast for BEV’s over the next 2 to 4 years.

      1. Mf

        This concept of price parity is based off the ICE vehicles subsidizing the losses of EVe. It’s a pipe dream.

        The only.way for EVs to see mainstream adoption is to ditch the BEV idea and market range extended PHEVs. Electric motors for thrust, modest batteries for around town, and a small ICE generator to extend range.

    2. Bruce

      Their are adapters available for the CCS to NACS charging connectors Just because the car you buy has a CCS connector doesn’t mean you can’t use an NACS charger. This is a red herring.

  12. JD

    This is as all comments here, my humble opinion. The EV world is on the precipice of a very rude and very painful awakening. Especially Ford. While the auto world may someday be dominated by EV’s, maybe not. That day is very far away. Ford, specifically Farley has so dramatically overestimated the demand for EV’s that it boggles the mind. The Lightning rollout was like molasses and the number sold very insignificant. The demand is rapidly slowing to a snail’s pace. So many EV’s are a niche market and that market is nearly full. Now the competition is heating up and ramping up production which will cause a glut of unwanted vehicles like no one has ever seen. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this obsession to make vehicles that no one is asking for bankrupts Ford. As an aside, there is not one chance in a million that California goes to all electric vehicles sales in 2035 or anywhere near it for that matter.

  13. dblazinovic

    Its amazing that the diesel truck still delivery the parts to all North America car plants and other industry the diesel motor and your gas engine will never be replaced with a EV and if it does it will be a long long long time

  14. Big burnin gas steve

    So tell me why Chevrolet is investing billions on a new V8 and diesel engine development as we speak!?! Someone has got it right and someone wrong!

  15. mthomas

    On a practical note, it’s nearly impossible to get ICE Transit 16 passenger vans now, but no problem if you want their EV models. Actually, EV cargo Transits are stacking up on the dealer’s lots. Could this be because Ford is moving all its resources into EV production? My advice, make what the consumer wants, not what you think we want. If you don’t understand the simple economic premise, “…the consumer is king,” you will feel considerable economic pain in the not too distant future.

  16. QBWFCB

    Folks on this thread don’t seem to realize why EV adoption is encouraged by governments world wide. Look at the current weather trends people! If you don’t’ believe in climate change, turn off your air conditioner. If you don’t believe in pollution from ICE exhaust get in your ICE car in a closed garage and start it up and take a nap. That said, Ford must accelerate EV adoption full speed ahead for the sake of the survival of the company.

    1. FinanceGuru

      We are in an Earth cooling cycle. Basic Earth Science teaches that the earth is cyclic in cooling and heating cycles that take place over thousands of years (up and down). What happens in one or two years is not even a blip on the radar. Anyone who claims, “but we had a hot summer” is not very smart.

  17. Shane

    Refreshing to see EVs failing in epic proportions. Americans won’t be buying them…”regardless.”

  18. Dave M

    QBWFCB :
    If you think that switching to EV’s is going to alter the so called “Climate Change” ,then you must be drinking the liberals and main stream medias Koolaid !
    There is no viable proof anywhere that climate change is any how related to what we as humans are doing on earth. It is all made up theories by people like Al Gore , John Kerry , ect. to profit billions by scaring people like yourself into thinking that we are all going to die if we do not do something right away !!
    Didn’t Al Gore say we where all going to burn up in ten years back in 2006 if nothing was done about ” Global Warming ” ( remember that was what the now climate change was called back then ) .
    You and I are still here , and they are still predicting the worlds end over this same subject !
    The climate is changing all the time , and its called nature , and nothing that we do here can change that !
    I recommend you read up on your EV’s ,and really find out how environmentally friendly they are .
    How are all the plastic parts made ? How are all the precious metals needed to make the batteries mined and processed ? Where does all the power come from to charge the EV ? How is all the cabling and wires produced for the Ev’s and charging stations ?
    Research some of these and other items and you will see that an EV is more harmful to the environment then any ICE powered vehicle ,along with windmills and solar panels .
    Looking forward to a response back if you do the research as I have said here. Should be interesting !!

    1. dblazinovic

      you are 110% right they are mining the minerals for the battery in Sudbury Ontario and they named this highway ring of fire i guess the hole will be so big they can start putting in the batteries that are no good from the EV cars into it how is this good for our environment i guess they havent got to this stage yet

  19. MARK

    By 2030 most if not all coal fired power plants will have been retired. Retirement of natural gas fired power plants will be underway. The price per KW of clean electricity from solar and wind will be declining yearly. And any automobile company still building ICE vehicles will be facing bankruptcy. The progress being made on battery technology, photovoltaic cell efficiency, and new wind power designs will accelerate the paradigm shift taking place in this decade, not next. Most people don’t like rapid change, but when that change is proven better and more importantly cheaper than the old fossil fuel energy of today, they will grow to love it.

  20. Dave

    Mark .
    You must be another democrat liberal drinking the “Green ” koolaid !
    Please explain to us what happens when the wind does not blow to power your wind mills ,or the sun does not shine to use your solar panels.
    Also, please calculate how many windmills or solar panels it takes to generate 1000 MW of power , which is what the average coal fired or natural gas fired power plant generates.
    And , what happens in cold regions of the country with windmill operation !
    You need to also research what all these so called “Green ” power sources are made of , how they are constructed , and what happens to the components when they wear out. You do understand that the windmill blades have to be replaced after so many years of use , and when they are replaced the used ones go into landfills especially designed for their burial !
    If you think that prices will come down and people will be rushing out to buy EV’s ,you are living in a dream world !
    The car companies facing bankruptcy will be ones that have put all their eggs in the EV basket ,and have lots full of these sitting around !


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