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Jim Farley Thinks Hybrid Powertrains Are Here To Stay

As recently as a few years ago, Ford CEO Jim Farley outlined the company’s broad objectives that called for a gradual transition away from internal combustion engines toward fully battery electric vehicles. As part of the pivot, gasoline and hybrid vehicles were expected to largely be phased out as battery powered Ford vehicles would replace their older counterparts. Due to several factors, a rapid transition to EVs isn’t happening for now, and according to recent comments, Farley seems to think hybrid vehicles may in fact be sticking around for longer than previously expected.

When asked at the 2024 Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference if he viewed hybrid powertrains as a transitional technology, Jim Farley offered a different perspective about hybrid powertrain’s role amid the proliferation of fully electric vehicles. “I think we should stop talking about it as transitional technology on the powertrain side. I mean the first generation Prius, I was at
Toyota, it’s 25 years ago. Ford launched a hybrid Escape and here we are talking about the exciting hybrid market. It’s 25 years old now.”

“Maybe PHEVs, traditional PHEVs that go 60 kilometers, 100 kilometers could be a transitional technology. But I don’t see hybrids. Why? Well, first of all, hybrids aren’t what everyone thought they were going to be. Hybrids used to be super efficient powertrains. And although we have that on Maverick and it’s super popular, 35 mile per gallon small pickup truck, our fastest turning vehicle and our lowest cost vehicle at the company in North America. But we also have Pro Power Onboard for F-150 hybrid which is now 25% of our F150 sales. Our competitors, my competitors don’t even have hybrid and I sell 25% of all F-150s, the second largest consumer product in the U.S. behind the iPhone in total revenue, is hybrid. And why? It’s not, even though the powertrain is very efficient for towing, it’s Pro Power Onboard, exportable power. That’s what those batteries allow you to do. Power a job site. Look what happened in Texas last week. Power your home when there’s a grid outage. People — so hybrid isn’t just what people thought it was. It includes exportable power, so that’s why I don’t think it will be transitional,” he added.

What Jim Farley is suggesting is that hybrid technology will survive despite fully electric vehicles becoming more popular globally. His statement isn’t terribly surprising given the company’s substantial bet on a multifaceted approach to alternative energy vehicles, a strategy exemplified by the new “Freedom of Choice” ad campaign touting the company’s gasoline, hybrid, and fully electric vehicle lineup. As part of the company’s decision to tap the brakes on a sprint toward full electrification, the Blue Oval pushed back the launch of the next generation Ford F-150 EV by one year and its three-row fully electric SUV by two years and announced its intention to offer hybrid powertrains on every retail vehicle available in North America by 2030. Ford is already reaping benefits from its hybrid strategy too, as April 2024 hybrid sales were up significantly.

We’ll have more on Jim Farley’s recent comments soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for comprehensive Ford news updates.

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. David Dickinson II

    “exportable power” Bingo, Jim! You hit the nail on the head. It is good that Ford finally figured out the answer is “all of the above” when it comes to powertrains. One size does not fit all. Infrastructure capabilities are vastly different in localities. Americans like having a choice of products.

    Reply
  2. Larry

    Jim now you are thinking. Your competitor Toyota has been making hybrid cars for 18 years now so they must be doing something right. EVs are good but the infrastructure has not caught up yet. Some people can’t afford them and also certain states with some industries are charging you money for them. Your house electric bill will go up too. These cars need to be affordable and fast charging. Hybrid is the way to go. It is a bridge from gas cars to electric. However 4WD or AWD will not work well with Hybrid engines. With these type of SUVs will not be economical for a hybrid engine. With these you should use your ecoboost technology. Hybrids should only be used with front wheel applications. Like the Maverick. Or even just make only 2 model cars with hybrid engines. That will generate more sales and hopefully people won’t hang on to or buy used gas vehicles.

    Reply
    1. William

      Why wouldn’t AWD/4wd be used on hybrids when the 2005 thru 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid had them? Toyota continues to offer such on the RAV4 vehicles with hybrid and PHEV function. Heck, that RAV4 hybrod is ratd to tow 1750lbs, the PHEV 2250LBS!

      Reply
      1. N

        THe 2024 Escape Hybrid does have an AWD option.

        Reply
  3. charles

    I’m looking forward to a hybrid V8 Mustang. Get the mpg up to an honest 30 but still have fun. No more V8 wasting gas at stop light intersections. I have a hybrid RAV4 and it is the best car I ever owned. Plenty of go and great mpg.

    Reply
  4. Mike K

    So why did my 2023 Maverick hybrid order never get built. Why did the Explorer hybrid get dropped? Isn’t the Escape on the chopping block? If a hybrid Edge would have been available I would have traded my 2020 Edge for one. I traded for a 2023 Santa Fe Limited PHEV. I’ve owned a Fusion PHEV and an Escape hybrid. Ford you lost this hybrid customer.

    Reply
    1. Stalkbroker94

      Cry harder? It was a really dumb idea to order a vehicle, let alone one on its first model year.

      Reply
  5. Jim o

    All makes sense except the 2025 sunset of the escape/corsair. Toyota/lexus advertise their hybrids and phev as do Volvo and others. Ford does not, then they wonder why they don’t sell as many as the others.

    Reply
    1. Rob

      I agree Jim. I hope they don’t phase out the Corsair. We love ours!

      Reply
  6. John

    Jim gets my vote for CEO of the Year!

    Reply
  7. enzo

    PHEV are the future. It is ony needed to have batteries with more capacity. If they could reach (real) 80 to 100 miles autonomy, with the same weight, they wi ben the winner.

    Reply
    1. Rick_816

      I agree 100%! Ford seems to have their strategy aligned with the what the public wants by making every model with a hybrid / PHEV option. GM is once again behind the curve, as they won’t have hybrids out until 2027, and only on a limited number of models. They are going to once again miss the boat on future sales. I would have bought a GM vehicle with my employee discount, but recently bought a Lincoln Corsair GT (PHEV) instead, because GM didn’t have any competing vehicles. When I saw that the Chinese version of the Equinox PHEV will get 96 miles of electric only range, I thought I would trade my Corsair for an Equinox if it were offered here. As enzo said, get to 100 miles of electric only and mid 30’s MPG after it’s depleted (my opinion), and you’ll have yourself a winner.

      Reply
  8. Rick Riegel

    It’s about time he said this. Going full EV was/is a huge mistake and cost Ford billions of dollars. Time to bring back a few sedans too Jim.

    Reply
  9. Ford Owner

    Bring back the Fusion Hybrid and Energi!

    Reply
  10. Buyer

    Ford can’t sell luxury cars, look at Lincoln sales. However, Ford wants to eliminate the last entry level option, the Escape?

    Look at the day supply on F-150’s. You can’t shoehorn everyone into a truck. I just bought a Genesis G70 because there was not a compelling American alternative.

    Reply
  11. Ronald Keith

    Jim is not known to be right with his predictions it wasn’t long ago he was saying EVs are the wave of the future and ICE cars where doomed.

    Reply
  12. Bill Howland

    That’s politician JIM for you…

    Ice engines will always be sold. I drive 3 bevs, but ice vehicles simply do a good job at what they’ve always done and are much cleaner than ever.

    Reply
  13. John Williamson

    I have an F150 powerboost hybrid with a 7.2 kw generator/inverter on the tailgate and pull my RV across the continent 2-3 times a year and can boondock anywhere. I’ve been waiting 3 years for Ford to take the logical step and move the F150 into a plug in hybrid that will give me 100 miles electric only and transform pick up truck economics.

    Reply
  14. Jeff G

    I am glad Ford believes in hybrids. I just wish they appreciated their U.S. customers enough to also offer them the Ranger PHEV. Frustrating that only customers outside the U.S. can buy one.

    Reply

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