Ford receives ‘hypocrisy award’ despite $11bn EV rollout

Ford has announced it is going "all in" on the electric vehicle (EV) market with an $11bn plan to rollout 40 new vehicles, but that hasn't stopped Greenpeace for delivering a "2018 Hypocrisy Award" to the carmaker for an alleged stance on fuel efficiency standards.

The company’s executive chairman Bill Ford told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that 16 pure electric and 24 hybrid vehicles would be commercialised by 2022. A fully-electric SUV is the only known model to date, and is expected to be available by 2020.

“This $11bn you’re seeing, that means we’re all in now,” Ford told reporters. “The only question is will the customers be there with us, and we think they will.”

The new pledge is more than double the $4.5bn funding announced by Ford in 2015. At the time, that investment was set to add 13 new EV models to the US carmaker’s portfolio.

The $11bn set aside for EV projects builds on impressive market progress to date. Ford recorded its highest ever commercial vehicle (CV) sales of 123,958 in 2017. In contrast, UK diesel car sales reportedly dropped by 20% last year, with the low-carbon car market growing by more than one-third (34.8%).

Ford’s commitment to EVs is also matched by CSR commitments relating to carbon, water and waste. The company’s latest sustainability report noted a 29.6% reduction in carbon emissions per vehicle produced since 2010.

Hypocrisy awards

However, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, Ford was called out for its involvement with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which has lobbied for relaxed fuel efficiency standards in the US.

Ford is a member of the Alliance, which has worked with other trade groups to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to relax standards for vehicles manufactured between 2022 and 2025.

Standards to increase fuel economy levels to more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 were agreed by automakers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration in 2011.

Public Citizen and Greenpeace have since awarded Ford with a “2018 Hypocrisy Award” noting that its involvement with the Alliance undermines its impressive environmental stewardship to date.

However, much of the Alliance’s uproar over the EPA’s increase to fuel efficiency comes from the fact that the Agency performed and agreed its review before the cut-off point for industry response.

Companies such as BMW, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz are also part of the Alliance, but are yet to receive backlash.

Matt Mace  

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