Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ford CEO calls on U.S. government to support EV batteries, charging

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By Paul Lienert

(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s Chief Executive on Wednesday called on the U.S. government to support battery production and charging infrastructure development, as he outlined the automaker’s plan to develop electric platforms for its top-selling trucks, vans and SUVs.

“We need to bring large-scale battery production to the U.S.,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said at a financial conference, adding that he planned to highlight the issue in talks with government leaders.

President Joe Biden is meeting with lawmakers Wednesday to discuss how to secure supplies of electric vehicle batteries, semiconductors used in vehicles, rare earths and pharmaceuticals.

Policy support for increased U.S. production of EV batteries and better charging infrastructure for electric commercial vehicles will help drive demand for those vehicles, Farley said.

“We can’t go through what we’re doing now with chips,” he said, referring to the shortage of imported semiconductors that has caused the temporary shutdown of several U.S. auto plants.

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra is scheduled to speak to investors at the same conference later Wednesday.

Most of Ford’s profit comes from the sale of big pickups in the United States. The company plans to launch an all-electric version of its best-selling F-series pickup later this year, followed by an electric version of its large Transit van. Ford has not detailed electrification plans for its SUV lineup.

Ford will work with partners to develop electric vehicle architectures for less profitable vehicles in Europe and China, Farley said.

He said Ford expects to launch a commercial automated vehicle business by 2025 and is working now on a strategy that could include automated delivery of goods.

He also said Ford wants to build recurring revenues from both digital services and physical services, such as vehicle charging and repairs, especially for its growing base of commercial customers.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio)

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