Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) management recently said the company is “all in” on electric cars. Executive Chairman William Ford told reporters, “The only question is will the customers be there with us and we think they will.” He skipped the nagging problem that every other major car maker is “all in” on electric cars as well.
Ford’s investment means a large part of its fleet will be electric within five years. The same is true of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), BMW and Volkswagen, to name a few. In aggregate, the investments announced by these companies has to be over $50 billion. In addition, each of the manufacturers believes it needs to make the investments quickly, in part to chase industry leader Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). If Tesla did not have production problems with its mass-market Model 3, the problems the larger companies have would be spectacular.
BMW plans to have 25 “fully electric” and “plug-in hybrids” available by 2025. The “plug-in hybrids” are a bit of a hedge. Since they are not all-electric, buyers get to fall back on more traditional engine types — in case those electric motors don’t work well.
GM plans to have 25 electric cars by 2025. Mark Reuss, who runs Ford’s product operation, recently said: “General Motors believes the future is all-electric. We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.” Presumably, that means fossil-fuel cars will be dead soon. Perhaps there will not be a single gas station in America by 2030, or at the very latest 2035.
Bill Ford made the most telling comment by a major industry official when he said no one knows if the “customer will be there with us.” If not, dealerships of every manufacturer, both large and small, will be littered with one of the industry’s greatest debacles.