Not quite a fair start

While I have no doubt the Tesla truck would emerge victorious from a tug of war with a F-150, to be fair the contest should have started with the line taut, not slack. Also, both vehicles should have moved at the same time. In this video, the Cybertruck moves first, giving it an advantage it doesn’t need. This contest must be done over.

Ford’s new Mach E Mustang SUV looks appealing

Ford Wants to Sell You an Electric S.U.V. It’s Called a Mustang.
New York Times, 11/17/2020

Ford Motor’s latest offering seems like an oxymoron twice over: It’s a sport utility vehicle that’s electric … that’s a Mustang.

It’s also Detroit’s biggest bet yet on a mass-market future for battery-powered cars.

The big automakers have been producing hybrid and fully electric vehicles for years. But almost all have been smaller models that found limited demand. Even the manufacturers often referred to them as “compliance cars” — built to help meet environmental regulations while they mainly turned out big internal-combustion vehicles that sold well and made hefty profits.

Purists will probably complain about the looks, and I guess they have a point. The Mustang has always been know for its distinctive and sleeks lines, and the decision to shoehorn an SUV into a Mustang could be divisive, but it is keeping with Ford’s decision to switch away from “family cars” to SUVs and trucks.

Pricing and performance seems tailored to parallel the upcoming Tesla Model Y in price and performance, though it comes up short on range in its high end trim, and is 6 cubic feet shy on cargo space on all trims.

Also, Ford gets to have a celebrity spokesman, which Tesla, so far, does not, and he comes in the form of Idris Elba, which is certainly better (and less creepy) than Matthew McConnaughey.

Prices for the new EV range from $43K to $60K and you can reserve one now for $500 (refundable), though they will not be shipping until about this time next year (for the high end models), and sometime in 2021 for the cheaper models. One thing that Ford does have helping its efforts is that the $7500 federal tax credit (and some state credits) are still available. Tesla’s remaining $1875 credit expires at years end, and GM’s in April 2020. Ford, having only sold about seven of its Ford Focus EVs has a ways to go.

One caveat I see after reviewing the Ford web site is that a number of the specs like range and performance are not firm, but a “target” spec. Which means, “Here’s what we hope it does when it comes out”, which I have to say

And that will be, to use the hoary cliche, “where the rubber meets the road”. Will Ford hit that ship date? Probably, since they are a “big auto” company and are supposed to be able to mass produce cars on time. And will they be mass produced, and available nationwide, and will dealers actually sell a product that will be less profitable to dealerships going forward?

Stay tuned.

Ford’s EV plans less than they seem

Ford to cut costs $14 billion, invest in trucks, electric cars: CEO

Ford Motors plans to slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett told investors on Tuesday, adding that the No. 2 U.S. automaker would shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

By 2022, Ford plans to cut spending on future internal combustion engines by a third, or about $500 million, putting that money instead into expanded electric and hybrid vehicle development, on top of $4.5 billion previously announced. Ford had already promised 13 new electric or hybrid vehicles within the next five years.

Right, this looks good on paper (or on photons if you prefer), but it is a bit misleading and somewhat contradictory. Moving 1/3 of your spending from ICE to EV is nice, but you are still investing a lot of money in polluting vehicles (and I doubt they will be discontinuing their pickups and SUVs anytime soon. But hey, I’ll take what I can get). But, I am puzzled about how you can develop “13 new electric or hybrid vehicles within the next five years” and cut $14 billion in costs. Designing and building new vehicles takes a LOT of money. Perhaps he thinks he can just take gasoline cars and stick electric motors in them. If so, he will soon learn that it’s a bit more complicated. Sure, you can do that, but you wind up with a car with lackluster range and performance (like the Ford Focus EV).

Also, are these cars for the U.S. market, or the Chinese market? He doesn’t specify.

He did have two ways of saving money that made sense.

One way to cut costs will be to offer fewer variations of Ford’s models, Hackett said. The slow-selling Ford Fusion midsize sedan can now be ordered in 35,000 combinations of features, colors and powertrain options. The future model will come in just 96 combinations, meaning fewer parts to design, produce and store in inventory, Ford showed in a presentation.

He said Ford also will cut the time it takes to engineer a new car by 20 percent, and invest in “factories of the future” that will occupy less space and use more robots.

Golly, he sounds just like Elon Musk.

Washington Post bailing on gasoline cars

Death of gas and diesel begins as GM announces
plans for ‘all-electric future’
Washington Post

After nearly a century of building vehicles powered by fossil fuels, General Motors — one of the world’s largest automakers — announced Monday that the end of GM producing internal combustion engines is fast approaching.

The acceleration to an all-electric future will begin almost immediately, with GM releasing two new electric models next year and an additional 18 by 2023.

At a media event at GM’s technical campus in Warren, Mich., on Monday, Mark Reuss, the company’s chief of global product development, said the transition will take time, but the course has been set.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”

While I am very glad that a mainstream newspaper can read the writing on the wall, to be fair to GM, they didn’t exactly say they were relegating the internal combustion engine to the landfill of history. Their language was pretty non-committal and they avoided any timelines. The rest of the article notes that, as we have seen, automakers are tripping over each other to announce “plans” for EVs to be delivered at some future date, in the meantime check out our “concept cars”.

Ford was rather amusing in their announcement, telling us about their plans which involved the formation of “Team Edison”, name after a man of questionable genius, but an enormous talent for stealing other people’s ideas, to compete against Tesla, a company named after a certified genius whom Edison cheated out of $50,000 when Tesla proved he could improve Edison’s own dynamos. Ford’s EV exec, Sherif Marakby was quoted as saying:

“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles. We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”

“Strategy plans”? Seriously?

What was that line again from Shakespeare? “…Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Yeah, that was what that sounded like to me.

In the meantime the only folks to believe are those actually making EVs, and not just “compliance” cars.