Ford Motor Company is deeply invested in a high-stakes EV arms race, with $30+ billion USD on the line through 2025. Most recently the Michigan automaker announced a massive, $11.4 billion investment in Kentucky and Tennessee to create nearly 11,000 new jobs – divided between 6,000 in Stanton, Tennessee, and 5,000 in Glendale, Kentucky. The investment is the largest ever in America at one time by any OEM. This huge investment will go towards the production of future F-Series and other electric vehicles and advanced lithium-ion batteries starting 2025. The deal was announced in conjunction with SK Innovation.
However. Ford has to see a return on such a lofty investment. And Ford CEO Jim Farley and his team are left with this new puzzle that they, and the rest of the auto industry at-large, have been trying to solve. According to a recent Detroit News interview with the man, Farley is more than aware on the tradeoffs of an all electric future.
Electric Vehicle Ultimatums
Electric vehicles such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, which are capable and ambitious by any measure, present a new set of problems for OEMs. They’re more expensive to buy, which is shying core market customers away. And they’re more expensive to produce, which means a greater risk of capital for anybody that dares to build one. And that’s to say nothing of the shoddy supply chain issues.
With governments railroading the industry into electrification in the name of saving the planet, automakers like Ford, GM, Stellantis, Rivian, and others are simply left with an ultimatum: to build and sell zero-emission vehicles, whether it’s the right thing to do or not.
Ford CEO Jim Farley Touches On Impacts Of Mining
In the story with The Detroit News, Farley believes that the United States needs to “get serious” about mining the raw materials needed for electric vehicles, which may not be a pleasant pill to swallow.
“We have to bring battery production here, but the supply chain has to 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,” said Farley, in the report.
“So are we going to import lithium and pull cobalt from nation-states that have child labor and all sorts of corruption or are we going to get serious about mining? … We have to solve these things and we don’t have much time.”