Bill Ford Sounds EV Retreat

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
bill ford sounds ev retreat

When, in a former life, I wrote speeches for top execs at Volkswagen, I never made my guy admit failure. Bad for his career and my business. The secret phrase for full retreat was: “This is one of the many options we are looking at. We are in a changing world and must change with it.”

I must have a less circumspect colleague at Ford.

“Electric is a focus of investment,” Ford CEO William Ford said yesterday at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics Conference in Santa Barbara. And then he dropped the bombshell:

“We still don’t know what the winning technology is going to be…We’re continuing to invest in hydrogen, we’re continuing to invest in biofuels.”

Ford bluntly reminded us that EVs had been tried before and failed:

“Prior to the Model T, a third of all vehicles in this country were electric… this isn’t a new technology. The reason it died away was the ubiquity of charging. Today, we have the same issue.”

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Ford “has no certainty that an electric grid will be developed that is capable of supporting droves of electric vehicles on the roads.”

Here is a nugget which I would have never dared to put into a speech, and as my victims will attest, I never was shy:

“We’ve made a big bet on electric… but the pace at which that develops, I think anyone who can tell you that is lying.”

What is most significant is the choice of venue for these choice words. It was like preaching Satanism to a nun’s convent. According to a survey conducted at the ECO:nomics conference, half of the respondents said they planned to buy an electric car in the next decade. Most likely, they lied also.

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  • Koblog Koblog on Mar 05, 2011

    Good for Ford. Sanity. Key quote: Ford “has no certainty that an electric grid will be developed that is capable of supporting droves of electric vehicles on the roads.” We don't have the grid. And this, by design. The same idiots at war with the gas automobile are at war with electricity generation. They think electricity comes out of the wall because they are good liberals and deserve clean power, not because the Hank Reardons of the world are working hard making the stuff in a plant somewhere. Ewwww. A "plant." Icky. This, as they run a houseful of electric gadgets fed by a 400-Amp panel while we experience Jerry Brown-driven brownouts because the windmills and solar panels are down.

  • ArrowSmith ArrowSmith on Mar 05, 2011

    The whole EV thing is a joke until we come to terms with nuclear energy.

  • Inspectorudy Inspectorudy on Mar 05, 2011

    This is my first visit to this site and it is very interesting to see all of the diverse opinions on this subject. First, hooray for Bill Ford and his honesty. Very rare in the world today. Second, to me the best way to accomplish a meaningful advancement in the propulsion world is to offer a huge reward, $50 million dollars(?) to the man/company that makes a significant advancement in any form of USABLE energy. My personal opinion is that it will be some combination of chemical/gas fuel cell coupled with an uninvented battery/capacitor combination. We can all agree that much of our driving is short trips that could be sustained with home charging, if new power plants are ever approved by the econazis, and the long trips could be done on the fuel cell. But no matter how hard you eco people want it to be true if there is no REAL market for these hybrids then they are not going to make. Our country is broke and we cannot afford ANY subsidies for anything. If you invent the product that does what it is expected to do without government help then you my friend will be just like Henry Ford.

    • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Mar 06, 2011

      Cut the cr@p with this "our country is broke" rhetoric. Come out here to Aspen or Vail, where the lifts and lots are still full all ski season, even at $90 a day. Come tour the McMansions of our suburbs, with four-car garages and a home theater in every basement. The rich have never been richer, though the upper middler class has reasons to worry. Our dollars have simply been concentrated into too few hands. Tax the rich, and we can afford to maintain our common infrastructure-- the roads, schools and physical systems that have carried us up to this point.

  • Knavyblue Knavyblue on Mar 06, 2011

    Sure, the people on my block and I aren't poor even though we don't have good jobs or money because the guy who lives on the corner is rich and we can just take his money. Of course, after we burn through that I'm sure we can go back and get him again, unless he moves or decides to quit working or something.