Ford CEO Speaks on Long Haulers, Rural Customers Adapting to Electric Cars

by Chris Haney

Like many automobile manufacturers, Ford Motor Company is transitioning its fleet of vehicles to hybrid and electric-based cars. However, during a recent interview, Ford CEO Jim Farley admits that rural customers likely aren’t quite ready to adapt to the change. That’s why the company isn’t going all-electric just yet.

Within the next four years, Ford plans to manufacture upwards of 600,000 electric automobiles annually by 2025. Additionally, the company plans on 40% of its vehicles having electric motors by 2030. However, the company’s CEO won’t commit to an exact date that 100% of their cars will be electric. One factor that stands in the way is the reluctance of certain customers who don’t want to forfeit their vehicle’s power. Farley touched on this while speaking to Automotive News this week.

“We have a lot of rural customers at Ford that a lot of other brands don’t have,” Farley explained. “We have Super Duty customers who do heavy-duty towing: horse trailers, people in the energy business who are towing big-time loads over very long distances. It’s hard for me to imagine that all those customers will go electric in the next 10 years.”

Farley went on to use a baseball analogy to explain that the transition from gas to electric vehicles won’t happen overnight. It’s going to be a long process that will take time to implement.

“They’re actually as interested in the technology as anyone, it’s just their use case is different than how we’ve designed the vehicles so far. It does feel, at least for Ford, the transition’s happening faster than we thought. But again, it’s the first inning of a maybe nine-inning game.”

Ford CEO Says Hybrid Vehicles Will Help Transition to All-Electric Automobiles

As Ford CEO Jim Farley alluded to, the electric transition is happening faster than expected, but will still take time. In the meantime, the automobile manufacturer is already releasing its first all-electric truck next year with the F-150 Lightning.

The new truck will feature a 10,000-pound towing capacity and will last up to 300 miles per charge. As of now though, Ford hasn’t revealed plans for an electric version of their Super Duty trucks. The company designed the heavy-duty vehicles for towing, hauling, plowing, and off-road driving.

While speaking in the same interview, Farley said the company will build its next-generation trucks in high volumes. They’ll be manufactured in the company’s new Blue Oval City factory near Stanton, Tennessee. He added that nearly 200,000 customers have already reserved the new F-150 Lightning for purchase.

For now, hybrids will play an integral role in the company’s transition to electric vehicles. American automobile competitors General Motors, who make Chevrolet, announced that all of their cars would be electric by 2035. Toyota, a Japanese-based car manufacturer, also agrees with Ford’s plan to utilize hybrids. The company noted the difficulties urban customers face in accessing charging stations for electric vehicles until further infrastructure has been mapped out.