Apple May Pass Ford as an EV Market Leader

As Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) rushes toward its EV-driven future, which will cost it billions of dollars, there are two pieces of bad news. The first is electric vehicle adoption rates. The second is that Apple is viewed as a more likely EV market leader than Ford.

The new forecasts about the EV market come from the accounting and consulting firm KPMG. Its KPMG 23rd Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey posts the results of questions posed to 910 industry leaders. They were asked what the EV market would look like over the next five to 10 years.

The study’s primary conclusion is that executives have become more pessimistic about how fast the driving population will adopt EVs. In the 2021 study, the respondents forecast EVs would own between 20% and 70% of the market by 2030. The new research shows a major shift. According to those asked, battery-powered vehicles will hold 10% to 40% of sales by 2030.

The shift is so dramatic that it calls into question the massive investment that manufacturers worldwide have made and plan to make into EV production. Last year, Ford management said it expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030. Ford said its total investment in EV initiatives would reach $50 billion.

A portion of the downward revision comes from assumptions about India, Brazil and Japan. Biofuels, infrastructure and a move to hybrid vehicles were among the causes.

Another unexpected conclusion of the study came from the answer to the question, “Looking out to 2030, which of the following companies do you think will be the market leaders in electric vehicles?” Tesla was the winner in both the 2021 and 2022 studies. BMW was in the top three each year. In a stunning development, Apple moved from ninth place to fourth place, while Ford dropped from third place to fifth. The authors wrote, “One interesting change: Apple is now in fourth place, having risen from ninth position in 2021, even though it has not yet produced or even announced a single car.”

Apple not only has no car. It has made, by most accounts, a very modest investment in an EV future, despite ongoing rumors it will build such a car. And most of these rumors are about self-driving vehicles rather than electric ones.

Ford executives must believe they have an early lead in the U.S. EV market. The company already has an electric version of its most popular vehicle. It is called the Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford also makes the highly popular Mustang Mach-E. A major problem has hit each. Ford cannot figure out how much it costs to build them, so it unexpectedly raised prices on both.

What caused Apple to move ahead of Ford in the new study? Either the respondents do not think much of Ford’s progress or they believe that Apple can come from behind and beat most of the industry.

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