Ford heir says his new ‘lightning’ F-150 EV MUST be a success

Ford’s new electric pickup truck must be a success or the company is in jeopardy, the company’s heirs have warned.

William Ford Junior admits a $40,000 F-150 ‘lightning’ equivalent of a ‘corporate bet’ and failing that it could ‘stain the entire franchise’.

But the motor company’s chief executive – and great-grandson of founder Henry – believes it will be a ‘huge opportunity’.

Ford is battling a flooded market for electric vehicles as it struggles to keep up with Tesla, GM and Rivian.

It also launched the F-150 amid a global shortage of computer chips that could stop launches from even being started.

Meanwhile, critical parts for new truck batteries – including lithium and nickel – have soared in price across the country.

But Ford remains confident that the revamped design will prove popular with customers – boasting how it can go from 0-60mph in four seconds.

William Ford Junior admits $40,000 F-150 ‘lightning’ (pictured) is equivalent to ‘company bet’ and failing that it could ‘stain the entire franchise’

A manufacturing complex US automaker Ford Motor Co and South Korean battery partner SK Innovation plan to build in Tennessee, opening in 2025, seen in an artist's appearance

A manufacturing complex US automaker Ford Motor Co and South Korean battery partner SK Innovation plan to build in Tennessee, opening in 2025, seen in an artist’s appearance

Biden signs executive order pushing half of all vehicles to EV by 2030

Joe Biden last summer signed an executive order outlining a goal for electric vehicles and other zero-emissions vehicles to account for half of the new cars and trucks sold by 2030.

The order replaces looser emission standards under former President Donald Trump.

In a show of unity, Biden joined the signing by executives and leaders of Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) of the United Auto Workers.

The 50 percent goal is non-binding and largely symbolic, but it sets hopes for US automakers to begin the transition from building gas-powered vehicles to electric vehicles.

This includes battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles.

Biden also called for the first nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Mr Ford, whose family is worth $2 billion, told the New York Times: ‘If this launch doesn’t go well, we could tarnish the entire franchise.’

The heir, who did a lot of work at the firm before taking on his lead role, continued: ‘If the Lightning launch goes well, we have a big chance.’

Chief Executive Jim Farley added: ‘I can’t wait. I can’t wait for the customer to get this truck.’

Ford’s electric ‘lightning’ F-150 could become the most important vehicle in the company’s 113-year history.

It’s off to a good start, with about 200,000 people already ordering the truck and undercutting its competitors at a cost of just $40,000.

Its competitors – GM, Toyota, Tesla and Stellantis – have also yet to come out with similar models of their own.

But Ford has a tough road ahead before it hits the market, with a global chip shortage potentially hampering its rollout.

This proved a problem last year, when the automaker said a shortage of semiconductors was expected to slash first-quarter revenue by as much as 20 percent.

It cut production of the F-150 truck – America’s most popular vehicle and the company’s biggest profit spinner – due to a chip shortage that has crippled the manufacturer.

Working remotely is causing a huge demand for computers and other technology that is overwhelming the mostly Taiwan-based chipmakers.

Honda and Volkswagen also voiced concerns about their supply lines, while Apple said its iPhone 12 should be limited by the availability of semiconductors.

General Motors also had to announce downtime at three of its plants – one in the US, one in Canada and one in Mexico – due to a chip shortage.

Meanwhile there are also concerns over soaring prices for nickel and lithium, which are needed to produce large batteries for vehicles.

And potential software issues in the F-150’s coding system once it’s launched could have a further impact on profitability.

Last month Ford announced it would modernize and transform the company into two parts – Ford Blue for petrol or diesel cars and Model E for electric cars.

It proved popular as the stock surged to $25, before slumping back to $15 amid Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.

But the market seems to think Tesla is the future, with the likes of Ford and GM expected to be less relevant.

And workers fear the change will lead to job losses because making electric vehicles requires less labor than gas-powered ones.

Ford made $136 billion last year, up from $127 billion in 2020, marking its second year in a row beating GM.

Ford has announced that it will introduce electric vehicles with two new, technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky.  In the photo, the all-electric F-150 Lightning is on display at the Bella Motor auto show in Pontiac, Michigan

Ford has announced that it will introduce electric vehicles with two new, technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky. In the photo, the all-electric F-150 Lightning is on display at the Bella Motor auto show in Pontiac, Michigan

Ford said last year it would produce three major electric vehicle battery plants and a car assembly plant by 2025.

This marks a $11.4 billion investment in EV futures that will create approximately 10,800 jobs and shift the company’s future southward.

The plant, which will be built on site in Kentucky and Tennessee, will make batteries for the next generation of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.

They mark the single largest manufacturing investment the company has ever made and constitute one of the largest manufacturing outlays in the world.

The new factories will provide a large supply of new jobs that will likely pay solid wages.

Most new jobs will be full-time, with a relatively small percentage having temporary status to fill vacations and absent workers.

Ford said it will spend $5.6 billion in rural Stanton, Tennessee, where it will build a factory to produce electric F-Series pickups.

A joint venture called BlueOvalSK will build a battery plant at the same location near Memphis, plus a twin battery plant in Glendale, Kentucky, near Louisville.

Ford estimates Kentucky’s investment is $5.8 billion and the company’s share of the total will be $7 billion.

The company is making significant bets on the future imagining most drivers eventually turning to battery power from internal combustion engines.

If the transition is interrupted or delayed, the stakes can be in the company’s favor.

Ford estimates 40 to 50 percent of its US sales will be electric by 2030. Currently, only about 1 percent of vehicles on American roads are powered by electricity.

Battery manufacturing complex US automaker Ford Motor Co and South Korean battery partner SK Innovation plan to build in Kentucky, opening in 2025. The campus will include a plant to build the next generation of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck as well as a battery factory.

Battery manufacturing complex US automaker Ford Motor Co and South Korean battery partner SK Innovation plan to build in Kentucky, opening in 2025. The campus will include a plant to build the next generation of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck as well as a battery factory.

A report from the International Council for Clean Transport last year found EVs emit fewer greenhouse gases over their lifetime.

Peter Mock, managing director for Europe, said: ‘Even for India and China, which still rely heavily on coal power, the life cycle benefits of BEVs are present today.’

The study looked at greenhouse gases (GHG) in Europe, the US, China and India, which are responsible for about 70 percent of all new car sales combined.

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