Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Bill Ford: ‘We Are Placing Our Bets the EV Future Will Come’

Bill Ford: ‘We Are Placing Our Bets the EV Future Will Come’

June 1, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Ford bets on an EV future but is ready to pivot to follow the market. 
  • EV adoption in the U.S. has happened quickly, but not as quickly as the rest of the world. 
  • Cheap gas, divisive politics, the shift from hardware to software, and high prices are barriers to wider EV adoption. 

The introduction and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the automotive and mobility industry have resulted in both great champions of the new style and passionate naysayers. Either way, Ford Motor Company’s Executive Chair, Bill Ford, said the company is positioned to go whichever way the market wants in a conversation with WDIV-TV’s Christy McDonald during the 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference. 

The automaker has an expansive collection of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, ranging from the Bronco to the F-150, Explorer, and Mustang. Ford believes these ICE vehicles will be around for a long time, but he said the company is ready to quickly move toward EVs if adoption speeds up. 

“I believe that optionality for us is the way to go because one size doesn’t fit all. Some people really do want EVs; other people are saying ‘over my dead body,’” said Ford. “Yet, we are placing our bets the EV future will come.” 

When asked why adoption has not happened as quickly in the U.S. when compared to the rest of the world, Ford cited cheap gasoline and politics. 

“I never thought I would see the day when our products have gotten politicized,” said Ford. “There is this notion now that if you are red, you are for internal combustion. If you are blue, you are for EVs. That will change the rate of adoption also.” 

This division surprised Ford, as cars have often been one of the things that Americans of all backgrounds mutually love.  

Other reasons EV adoption could be experiencing a delay are the increase of software and technology in cars, which has shifted the way people work on them, as well as the higher prices, which make them unaffordable for many young people, who Ford shared is the top demographic configuring vehicles online.  

“We’ll always be a hardware company, but we’re rapidly becoming a software company as well, and that’s a big change,” said Ford. 

In addition to the shift to more technology altering the automaker’s customer demographic, Ford shared that it has also altered the company setup. They have had to recruit more software talent, which must be managed differently than hardware talent. They have also divided the company into three divisions: EVs, internal combustion, and Ford Pro. 

“So far it’s going really, really well,” said Ford. 

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This Mackinac Policy Conference session was sponsored by Ford Motor Company.