BILL OWNEY | Batteries in place! : Time and Ford move away from gas-guzzling transporter
As Ford transforms its truck into electric platforms, perhaps no vehicle will benefit more than the Expedition.
Obviously massive, powerful and competent, the Expedition shares a platform and a lot of mechanics with the best-selling vehicle in the United States, the F-150, which will be available next spring in an all-electric form and at competitive prices.
Like almost all automakers – alas, poor Chrysler – Ford is turning into an electric vehicle maker. CEO Jim Farley recently announced an additional $ 22 billion in electrification spending through 2025 to build assembly plants, battery factories and charging stations, and to research and develop new products.
We can in good faith engage in a heated debate about the advisability of this change, but in the end, it does not happen because of the climate and not because of politics. It’s just business.
Less cost, more profit
Electric vehicles have far fewer moving parts and, therefore, are not only immensely more reliable (how many times have you seen a ceiling fan break?) To manufacture.
Sequitur (so this follows), automakers can sell electric vehicles at the same price as internal combustion ones and make more money. This hasn’t happened yet because we’re still in the early stages of the skimming theory, that if some people pay $ 100 for something, sell it for that price until you don’t. ‘have more people as inclined. Then move on to people who will pay $ 90, $ 80, et cetera (and others).
That is why phone manufacturers are continually developing new models.
It hasn’t happened either because we’re at the start of another theory, the diffusion of innovation. He argues that adoptions of new technologies are initially slow until they reach an inflection point. Then their use explodes exponentially.
Anyone who remembers the days before cell phones, raise your hand.
Multiple factors will drive the adoption of electric vehicles. The main thing is that no one knows how to manipulate our emotions to create desire better than the automakers. When the taps for advertising dollars are turned on, the flow of a fire hose resembles a water pistol.
Another is that automakers and utility companies view charging stations as profit centers. Before Congress acts on infrastructure – if it’s more like that – billions of dollars will be invested in building the charging network.
At the same time, battery technology is developing rapidly. I can already hear whispers from 600 mile ranges.
Yet another element is that electricity costs about a third of carbonaceous fuel and is three times more efficient. A gasoline engine transforms about 30 percent of fuel into energy, the rest is wasted as heat and pollution. An electric motor uses over 90 percent of its energy.
Finally, electric vehicles will prove to be good deals for buyers, with or without tax incentives. They cost less to operate. There is no cooling or exhaust system to maintain. The brakes regenerate energy instead of wearing out. Here’s the first year maintenance: rotate the tires, change the wipers. Because there is little friction inside an electric motor, a life expectancy of half a million kilometers or more is reasonable. This translates into high resale values.
On a 150-kilowatt DC fast charger, Ford says the extended-range F-150 Lightning is intended to reach 54 miles of range in 10 minutes and charge 15-80% in about 41 minutes. A pre-production model with available features is seen. The Lightning is available from spring 2022. (Ford Media Center)
Change will come
Oh, the Luddits are going to rage. They still do, but alea iacta is. The die is cast.
I fall here in Latin not only because it is the first time in 50 years that I find a practical return for all the hours spent studying it, but also to remind you that, for more than seven centuries, this language particular was retained as the ideal for scholarship, the spirit of the state and literary control
Then he died, which means that I wasted my youth mastering two dead languages. The other? English. (Full disclosure, I wasted it on other things too).
We are not yet at the death of the internal combustion engine. Omnia mutantur, nihil interit (everything changes, nothing perishes). According to Statista.Com, approximately 280 million motor vehicles circulate on American roads. In an average year, 40 million people change hands. About 14 to 15 million new vehicles enter the fleet and a similar number retire in scrap yards and scrap yards.
According to IHS Markit, in 2020, all-electric vehicle registrations in the United States (excluding plug-in hybrids) reached a record market share of 1.8%. It’s about to increase exponentially. Dozens of electric vehicles – many targeting the middle class – will hit the market over the next three years.
Yet if every new vehicle sold was electric, it would take 20 years to swap out the US fleet.
All of this means that gas stations, mechanics, and parts stores will be around for years to come (although they will increasingly find themselves in competition with dealers eager for repairs). Yet, during the lifetime of our grandchildren, they will be as hard to find as blacksmiths, buggy makers and towing poles.
Expedition a dinosaur
That brings us back to the Expedition, which most critics agree is the best full-size SUV on the market. Priced between $ 49,625 and $ 79,425, it is slightly better than the similarly priced Toyota Sequoia. Both have terrible fuel economy – 16 mpg in the Expedition, 15 in the Sequoia.
The Expedition drives and handles better, the Sequoia is more reliable, but both ride on truck ladder frames, so neither serene nor calm as their price category suggests.
GM also makes full-size SUVs, like the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade, and Nissan offers the Armada. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend any of these products, and neither do I. In the case of GM vehicles, made in Arlington, Texas, the company has stopped investing in engineering and styling. Here’s the revealing: an ad that boils down to arguments about who has the best hatchbacks.
The interior of the King Ranch Edition of the 2020 Ford Expedition is visible. (Ford Media Center)
While continuing to build these vehicles – which are both immensely popular and incredibly profitable – GM has shifted its budget and human capital towards electrification.
The real problem with these SUV trucks is that consumers can spend half the money and get twice the fuel economy on a seven-seater crossover (i.e. built on a car-like chassis) like the Kia Telluride, the Toyota Highlander, the Honda Pilot and the Chevy Traverse. . These vehicles drive and behave much better and have all the capability, whether it’s towing a trailer or off-roading, that most families need.
At the same time, automakers are starting to offer hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies in crossover SUVs, which means 30-35 mpg is achievable. Even that doesn’t sound great compared to the Ford F-150 Lightning’s equivalent mileage of 108 mpg estimated by the EPA.
When hundreds of people die from the heat and western Canada burns down, getting that kind of fuel economy starts looking like a 21st century thing to do.