Making electrical vehicles more affordable should be a top priority for automakers as currently the average vehicle-buyer cannot afford them, reports Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co. president & CEO.
“I’m deeply worried about the affordability,” Farley said during a live-streamed interview with Mary Kramer, the director of the annual Detroit Homecoming VIII event.
“We have a lot of work to do to make them more affordable,” he said. “That’s the one that keeps me up at night.”
Farley noted the EV version of the F-150 is completely sold out in Europe, U.S. and China. “We have 150,000 orders and the truck isn’t just fast ... it’s very fast but it can power your house for three days. I think this will really change electrification,” he says.
He noted that the first generation of electric owners don’t work small commuter, economy vehicles. “They want Mustangs, they want pickup trucks, they want utility vans,” said Farley. “They want the best products.”
EV production could impact labor concerns since it costs 30% less to manufacture the electrical vehicles. Battery supply and minerals such as lithium and cobalt to power them also present potential obstacles, said Farley.
He recommends bringing battery production to the United States but stresses the supply chain must go all the way to the mines. “That’s where the real cost is and people in the U.S. don't want mining in their neighborhoods,” he said.
The question is, he said: Are we going to import lithium and pull cobalt from nation-states that have child labor and all sorts of corruption or all we going to get serious about mining? We have to solve these things and we don't have much time."
Farley said the company is also exploring an autonomous highway that will run down Michigan Avenue through Detroit, Dearborn and then ending in Ann Arbor. He did not release more details on it but said local governments will have to be on board with it.
"Autonomy is taking longer than we thought," said Farley. "But we still have to solve the second-order problems. Like do we have dedicated infrastructure for our autonomous vehicles? I don't think we should wait for regulators to make up their mind. We have to solve this as companies."