Issue 10 • June 2021

Welcome to issue number 10 of the just-auto magazine

Automotive electrification accelerates

When it comes to electric vehicles, electric variants of major model sellers will be key. An electric Ford F-150 in the US market? It's a sign of how far we have already comes and it's one to watch when it goes on sale in 2022.

The all-electric variant of Ford's best selling pickup model will be built at a new high-tech facility at Ford's Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan and Ford says it plans market launch in the spring of 2022. The electric F-150 will be called the 'F-150 Lightning' and will come with an electric powertrain - dual in-board motors - delivering up to 563 horsepower and 775 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any F-150 ever, Ford says. There's a claimed 0-60 mph time in the 'mid-4-second range' when equipped with the extended-range battery and Ford also says that on a 150-kilowatt DC fast charger, the extended-range F-150 Lightning is targeted to get up to 54 miles of range in 10 minutes and charge from 15% to 80% percent in about 41 minutes. Impressive stuff.

Getting electric vehicles out to market is no mean feat, but there's a lot more to the e-mobility eco-system than that. There's a need for new supply-chains and capacity in manufacturing as well as sufficient battery charging infrastructure in the aftermarket. And it doesn't stop there: aftermarket support and training for electric vehicles will require considerable investment and consideration. Our interview with Delphi Technologies' aftermarket training manager has some interesting pointers.

Electric cars don't come cheap. Yet. The economics of manufacturing and selling electric vehicles is moving in the direction of them being lower cost versus ICE equivalents, but there's a chicken and egg element at work. When market volumes are much higher, then unit costs come down. When the costs are low enough, demand comes through and a virtual cycle of lower prices and higher demand can become established. For the manufacturers of course, profits on EVs become much easier to achieve when volumes are much higher.

It has long been held that the established players are pretty keen to maintain ICEs - and their known quantity technologies and profitability - for as long as they possibly can. If that has been the case, it may not be so any longer. The problem for ICEs is that governments and regulators are making their business case increasingly difficult - whether it's restrictions on use, fleet average CO2 fines or a future date for a ban on sales. If you know what's coming in 2030, it's probably better to face up to the emerging reality well before then and make a bid for competitive superiority. In that context, it was interesting to hear the views of Hildegard Wortmann, Audi's board member for sales and marketing, on profit relativities and when a future tipping point may be reached. It may be sooner than you think and if it is, be ready.

Dave Leggett, Editor