Ex Ford CEO Says EV Industry Will Face “Reckoning” In 2-3 Years

Mark Fields, Ford’s former CEO thinks that the automotive industry needs to stop having such massive expectations when it comes to fully-electric vehicles. In fact, the feels that real growth won’t happen for many years to come.

“I think the industry is going to be under a reckoning over the next 2 to 3 years,” he said during a mobility conference. “My view is that yes, electrification is going to grow over the years, but it’s not going to grow to the extent all the experts are telling you.”

The ex Ford boss, who is currently a senior adviser at global asset management firm TPG, also said that carmakers will first have to manage high development costs and a lack of demand.

“The are going to have to first restructure the margins of the business and on top of it you’re going to have to incentivize demand. If you throw in, during that time period, a recession that’s going to happen at some point, that’s going to put a lot of pressure on the OEMs.”

Also read: Ford Mach-E – What If The Mustang-Inspired Electric SUV Looked Like This

During his time at Ford, Fields attempted to turn the blue oval brand into a leader in electrification – plans were set in motion for a long-range, fully electric model. However, his successor, Jim Hackett, ordered a redesign of that vehicle shortly after taking the job, reports Autonews Europe.

Another one of Fields’ accomplishments includes Ford investing $4.5 billion in electrification through 2020 – plans that have since been expanded.

As for what his stance is on autonomous vehicles, he doesn’t expect them to become the norm until the “back end of the next decade” and even then he thinks they will be focused mainly on specific purposes such as package deliveries.

  • Ronald Roman

    Thank you, Captain Obvious!

  • erly5

    Until the charging infrastructure improves and the price comes down, electric cars will remain niche products for the foreseeable future. And it’s only those wealthy early adopters that will benefit from low running costs.

    • Liam Paul

      I would never buy one because you can only go so far, your trips are limited. If I want to travel from the east coast to the west coast in my car, last thing I want is a car that leaves me standard in the middle of nowhere. The range on EV needs to far better than the range a fuel car can get because there are still many places towns cities and middle of nowhere towns that have no such adaptors for EV. I don’t see EV taking off and replacing Fuel vehicles till mid 2040’s

      • Chris

        EV’s make awesome commuter cars. Tesla especially are ridiculously fun vehicles to drive. Yes, currently most are great for those who don’t need to travel more than 200 miles a day and have access to a home charger. Obviously for long road trips planning ahead is needed with EV’s. With solid state batteries and other hosts of innovation in the pipeline, and prices likely coming down, I’d say you’ll see them replacing Fuel vehicles well before the 2040’s. Tesla alone will have 400 mile range Model S variants before the end of the year.

      • TheBelltower

        300 or 400 miles of range is better than many gas cars and totally fine for long trips. Especially as supercharging times decrease. I drive 300 miles regularly from NYC to DC. I only need to stop once to charge, take a leak and get coffee. It takes me no longer than if I were to take my gas car.

    • CarlK

      Just FYI it is no longer a niche product. Tesla’s model 3 is best selling car in the price level, more than BMW 3 series, Mercedes C class and Audi A3/A4 COMBINED. Revenue-wise it also beat cars like Camry or Accord.
      Nothing from Ford can even touch it. And Tesla had only been producing cars for a few short years. You don’t think those auto companies are jumping into the arena just for fun. The have seen the writing on the wall.

      • Alduin

        Model 3 is a steaming pile of unreliable sh|t with a poorly designed dashboard crappy build quality and an ugly tacked on screen. It doesn’t even have apple car play or android auto.

  • Bash

    That’s what and how logic sounds!

    • Liam Paul

      Ford should had kept him and GM needs to dump Mary Barra

      • Bash

        I couldn’t agree more mate. 👍🏻

        • Alduin

          GM=Garbage Motors.

    • Bobby Lee

      Your statement. Ironic.

  • kenda

    One year ago I made the decision to leave my old work and I am very pleased at this point…. I started off doing business through the internet, for a corporation I found out on the internet, for a number of hour on daily basis, and I make money a lot more than I did on my office workplace job… My pay-check for last calendar month was 9,000 dollars… The most important thing about this is the additional time I obtained for my babies…and that the single requirement for this task is basic typing and also accessibility to broadband… I am capable to spend quality time with my loved ones or close friends and take good care of my children and also going on a family vacation with them very consistently. Don’t avoid this chance and make sure to act fast. See, what it is about… SPORESCARE.INT.PS

  • Chris

    Ford was best under the leadership of Alan Mulally. He truly transformed and improved Ford, sadly under Fields quality fell and well as the stock price! It’s truly amazing how these guys can fail and keep finding high paying jobs.

  • Jerry Hightower

    Agreed! I have yet to see anything from any manufacturer for the apartment dweller. Apartments are not going to install charging stations for every apartment because of the costs.

  • Super Rob

    Politicians think it’s the infrastructure when obviously it isn’t. It’s the recharge time. Get that down to the same as ICE and every gas station will switch the charging and will not cost the government a dime. If you have a charging station on every corner and it takes and hour to charge then you still have nothing. If the governments really want to help the fund battery research. Everything right now in the renewable energy world is about the battery.

    • TheBelltower

      Charging will never need to be as fast as filling a tank because it’s a different process entirely. When I can eliminate oil changes or “refuel” my ICE car in my driveway while I’m eating dinner, then I may go back to a gas car as my daily driver. When I don’t charge at home, I charge in the supermarket parking lot while I’m shopping. Charging your car doesn’t require the driver to stand waiting while it fills.

      • Super Rob

        Apartments, condo’s, students, etc.. Everyone isn’t going to have a charger in their garage. No doubt EV’s have a lot of advantages that would be nice for everyone. But if you can’t juice it up then it really doesn’t matter.

        • TheBelltower

          Four days a week, I live in Manhattan in a condo apartment. I charge my car in the garage of my building with a standard 110V plug. There are more charging stations in the city than gas stations, including several superchargers which I’ve never used or needed. It’s all a different process. But I find the charging process much better than visiting a gas station.

        • Alduin

          Nobody is going to wait hours for their the EV to be fully juiced.

      • Nick099

        Right now, it’s mostly on the Taxpayer dime that you are able to do that. Subsidies, subsidies, subsidies. When the balance tips in favor of EV’s the taxes appear….you can rest assured of that.

        I am not opposed to EV’s…just all of the fawning BS and tax dollars thrown at it to create an artificial environment for them to thrive in. That is because they are not ready for prime time…yet.

        • TheBelltower

          Until the tens of billions of $ worth of oil subsidies ends, your argument doesn’t hold water. My keeping my own money as a tax deduction to buy an EV is not the same as the ongoing flow of cash provided to century old oil companies who are firmly established and incredibly profitable.

    • Alduin

      I want people who own EV’s to pay road taxes. They shouldn’t get away without paying. Batteries are not renewable.

      • Nick099

        Is there a disposal fee like we pay for a single 12v lead-acid battery???

        Not yet, wait till pols realize they can charge for that!

      • Bronson Westlund

        Lithium ion batteries are recyclable, and EV’s are mostly used for commuting to work daily and charged at home. Not sure why you are hating on the EV’s when most the stuff you say is incorrect.

      • CarlK

        Lithium batteries are recyclable and lithium is not toxic. It can even be put in landfill according to EPA guideline although people will never do that because of the value. As for charging most people charge their EV’s at home most the time just like you charge your phone. Plug it in when you get home and wake up in the morning with a full “tank” of charge at fraction of cost of gasoline. Nobody would want to go to dirty gas stations anymore NOBODY.

    • Nick099

      Governments have been too busy playing games with social engineering, figuring out ways to make excuses to rip off the treasuries by investing public money in crony’s product instead of pure research.

  • TheBelltower

    “…carmakers will first have to manage high development costs and a lack of demand”

    I can’t argue with this. The demand for low-range EV’s is very weak, and that’s what most automakers have offered so far. Ev’s with over 250 miles of range are in high demand. EV automakers will need to get their range up beyond 300 miles and have a reliable charging infrastructure before they will be mainstreamed. This requires a different kind of R&D expertise and supply chain than conventional vehicles.

    • Nick099

      It requires a new type of energy storage device…..not yet in production.

      • TheBelltower

        Only one company has achieved it. Conventional automakers are going at it half a$$ed because they really don’t want to be in the EV business. Hence, the iPace and e-Tron.

      • CarlK

        What new type of energy storage device. Tesla has already making cars with up to 370 mile range with Lithium batteries.

        • Nick099

          Lithium is not ready for mass production on such a scale. Look up its origins. Infrastructure changes to grid in US alone is TRILLIONS.

          There are so many issues to consider. Maybe SS might hold the answer.

  • SteersUright

    Remember, old timers can never truly anticipate new technology, its speed of adoption, and comprehensiveness of its impact. He sounds very rational and cautious, exactly like someone who should not be leading any sort of tech firm.

    • Matt

      Name one thing he said that isn’t true or isn’t based in reality? He’s hardly an ‘old-timer’ either. Maybe you should run a large multinational corporation with shareholders and see how you go burning through cash and failing on promises.

    • Nick099

      LOL…sure kid.

      And your answer is representative of someone whose judgement skills have not yet been tempered through experience and knowledge.

      As an aside, a human’s higher thinking functions have not fully developed till the age of 25.

      “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread”—-Alexander Pope (1709)

      More telling, from the same poem “A little learning is a dang’rous thing.”

  • Alduin

    I find it hilarious that so many automakers are jumping on the EV bandwagon all of a sudden because Tesla sold a measily number of their cars over a few years that now all of a sudden some automakers are rushing to build EV’s. EV’s aren’t sustainable in the long run. Hydrogen and other fuel sources will eventually go mainstream then EV’s will bite the dust.

    • Bronson Westlund

      The lifespan of the battery and electric motor is much longer than a ICE, and much much less money to maintain. The batteries are recyclable, so how is that not sustainable? Your ICE vehicle will die and not work well before an EV vehicle. Do a little research before you just start saying things.

      • Alduin

        Total BS. Engines can be rebuilt batteries can’t.

    • JqC

      LOL. My friend, you are so wrong on all of your points, that it’s actually cute.

    • CarlK

      Tesla grew from making a few thousand cars in 2012 to making a few hundred thousands this year. The Model 3 is already the highest revenue car in the US. That include perennial sales leaders Camry or Accord. Give it another 5-7 years, and with new models including popular pickup and mid-size SUV, its EV will dominated the auto world with or without participation of traditional auto companies. It’s really their own choice to decide their eventual fate.

      • Alduin

        Yet Tesla is still burning through cash and not making a profit.

  • CarlK

    Kodak did not believe digital photography, Blockbuster did not believe video streaming and Blackberry did not believe smartphone you can use to surf the web. A backward thinking like that is the reason that you were unfit to run a 21th century auto company.

  • botornot387

    I think he may be on to something since we are seeing the entire industry receding. This will end up like smartphone sales, if there is nothing revolutionary to move up. Especially since, in many urban areas, there are new forms of transportation popping up, and things like ride sharing and subscription.

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