Is Ford going all electric?
‘A game changer’: Ford CEO touts new electric vehicle plant
The latest climate warnings are renewing calls for more electric vehicles.
By ABC NEWS
March 24, 2023, 7:14 PM
Ford CEO Jim Farley pats a Ford F-150 Lightning truck before announcing at a press conference that Ford Motor Company will be partnering with the world’s largest battery company, Feb. 13, 2023, in Romulus, Mich.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world is «on thin ice» and called for «climate action on all fronts» earlier this week while revealing the latest U.N. climate report.
The report said that greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow as chances of slowing climate change shrink — unless those emissions are cut drastically by the 2050s.
Ford CEO Jim Farley unveiled the company plans to reduce those emissions, including its new green manufacturing plant and the plant’s first vehicle, an electric truck codenamed Project T3. Farley joined «GMA3» to discuss the plans and what they mean for the future of manufacturing.
DEMARCO MORGAN: The U.N. secretary general says it will take a quantum leap and climate action to mitigate global warming. Can you tell us about the BlueOval City plant behind you and how it’s a game changer in your eyes?
JIM FARLEY: It’s a game changer for us. And good afternoon to you. Game changer for us, because we’re really starting to scale EVs. We’re number two in the U.S., and with this plant, we’re adding not only 6,000 American jobs, but, you know, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of capacity and the plant will be completely green. All the electrons that power the plant will be green electricity. So it’s not just a story about an electric vehicle. It’s actually a much bigger story about modernizing and decarbonizing our American manufacturing industrial system.
EVA PILGRIM: And today, Ford’s announcing the first vehicle to be built at that plant you’re at today, an electric vehicle codenamed Project T3. It’s a truck. What are we going to see that we haven’t seen yet in other EVs? And when will it roll out?
MORE: New to electrification? Try a plug-in hybrid first
FARLEY: Well, you know, our Lightning is the best-selling electric pickup in the U.S., but this will be its successor and it will be fully software updatable. So over the air we’ll be able to change and improve the truck every day for our customers. And we think it’ll be the first technology we’re going to land where on a sunny day in the highway, you’ll be able to go to sleep in your Ford truck. So we don’t have autonomous features for commuters where you know you’re going to get the most precious thing in your life back, which is time.
MORGAN: And Jim, it is no secret that Ford has clearly embraced the electrical vehicle market as have others, and yet EVs have faced their share of problems. About 18 Ford F-150 Lightnings had to be recalled for a battery fire issue earlier this year. There have been Tesla battery fires, GM, BMW, Volvo, all had recalls due to EV fire risks. How can you assure people that your EVs are safe?
FARLEY: Well, I mean, I’m so proud of the Lightning team. They stopped production. We stopped the battery production. We did everything we needed to do. We found that fire. It happened at Ford, not in customer’s hands. We did exactly the right thing. Unlike other brands, we stopped the production. None of them got out in customer’s hands. And that’s exactly what we have to do to build a trusted brand on EV. We’re also going to diverse battery chemistry that has less risk, like the LMP battery plant we’re building in Michigan.
MORE: Electric vehicle drivers get candid about charging: ‘Logistical nightmare’
PILGRIM: We have to talk about money. EVs are expensive, more expensive than traditional cars. So if this is supposed to be better for our planet, how do you make these vehicles affordable so everyone who wants one can actually have one?
FARLEY: Yeah, great question. And that’s a big part of Ford, obviously. You know, we democratized affordable vehicles, so that’s a big part of our DNA. I think the first part is we have to design the vehicle differently to be a lot simpler. We have to scale to hundreds of thousands from tens of thousands. Like today, we’re going to have a more efficient distribution without inventory like we have today with our dealers. And we’re going to have to build it with less labor content. So we have to change everything, basically.
MORGAN: Jim, before you go, the U.N. climate report says we have to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Are you optimistic that the world can reach that goal? Is it possible?
FARLEY: It’s possible if companies like Ford do what we’ve got to do. It’s absolutely possible.
All-electric Ford Mustang to go into production in 2029
The current seventh-generation Ford Mustang, also known as the S650, will continue to be produced until 2029, when the all-electric, redesigned Mustang will begin production. This information was provided by AutoForecast Solutions, a company that uses various factors, including supply agreements and factory conditions, to make predictions.
It is expected that the S650 Mustang, which was introduced earlier this year, will be discontinued around the start of 2029. This will give Ford time to make any necessary changes to the production plant. It is likely that the Flat Rock Assembly factory near Detroit, Michigan, which has been the site for Mustang production since 2004, will be responsible for building the fully electric model.
Artist’s impression of what the future Mustang can look like
According to the report, it is thought that the Mustang EV will be based on Ford’s GE2.2 platform. This is the same platform that will be used for the second generation Mustang Mach-E, a new Mach-E Coupe, and the electric versions of the Escape and Explorer. It is understandable that there is currently limited information available about the Mustang EV.
The current generation of the Mustang Mach-E uses the GE1 specialized electric vehicle architecture. The GE2.2 platform, which will be used for the eighth-generation Mustang, will only support electric vehicles, so the new Mustang will not have a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine.
When the S650 Mustang was first announced, some people expected it to offer some form of electrification, like a hybrid or plug-in hybrid option, but this does not seem to be the case and there are no plans to change this.
Before Jim Farley became CEO of Ford, there was a rumor that the seventh generation of the Mustang would be mostly electric. However, Farley stopped this plan and pushed for the development and release of the Mustang Mach-E, which has proved to be a successful decision. The Mach-E has become one of the most popular models at Ford and customer demand is higher than ever. It has also helped position Ford as a strong competitor in the electric vehicle market, alongside companies such as Tesla.
Will the all-electric Ford Mustang look anything like this?
Introduction of the Mach-E allowed the Mustang muscle car to continue using combustion engines, including an updated naturally aspirated V8 with 480 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. There is also a model with a 2.3-liter turbo inline-four engine that produces 320 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Both engines can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission, with a 10-speed automatic transmission available as an option.
If you always wanted to have a V8 ‘Stang, now is the time to make your dreams come true. The current model is its last incarnation — some people consider it the best, others argue that the only real Mustang was made back in ‘68. Whichever side you’re on, the clock is ticking — 2029 is not that far away.