Over the last 12 months,
Fordhas made huge strides into the electric vehicle industry.
The Mustang Mach-E won the 2021 North American SUV of the Year Award, it is being
considered by police departmentsto replace gas-powered cruisers, and global demand is expected to surpass 200,000 units in 2022.
F-150 Lightningelectric pickup—intended to start production next spring—is also seeing strong demand, with the number of reservations far outstripping production capacity during the microchip shortage.
Despite this, a top executive has admitted that Ford’s commercial fleet customers, a key audience for both the Lightning and E-Transit vehicles, are voicing concerns over an all-electric future.
Fleet buyers have a ‘wait and see’ attitude
Reutersreports that Ford Pro chief exec Ted Cannis has said that some fleet buyers are pushing back against the switch to electric vehicles.
Cannis attributes these concerns to a lack of experience with EVs, and the worry that government policy surrounding EV regulations are hard to predict.
While the Biden administration has shown itself to be a supporter of electric vehicles, there’s no guarantee that this attitude will be shared by future Presidents.
However, Ford appears to be resolute in its commitment to an electric future. Cairns said, “In the U.S., we see 70% of the full-size bus and van industry going electric by 2030….And we expect a third of the full-size pickup (market) to go all-electric by 2030.”
He promised that fleet customers would save a lot of money on fuel and maintenance by using electric trucks, but accepted that “there is still a fear of the unknown" affecting some of Ford’s biggest corporate clients.
Ford can overcome client hesitancy
Despite the concerns of some corporate clients, Ford believes they are not insurmountable.
Cairns went on to claim that the Lightning is the most capable and most exciting F-150 ever, and said, "we have so much demand, I'm not sure how we can supply" enough vehicles.
It’s hard to argue with the numbers. Reuters notes that Ford has already doubled its production target for the Lightning ahead of its 2022 launch, and will target annual production of over 80,000 vehicles by 2024.
As electric vehicles become more widespread among the general public, and charging infrastructure continues to improve, Ford’s fleet buyers will eventually come round.