The Tesla Cybertruck isn’t keeping the man in charge of Ford up at night.
On Tuesday, Ford CEO Jim Farley sat down with CNBC’s Jim Cramer and talked EVs, the Blue Oval’s partnership with Tesla, and the Cybertruck.
Ford’s F-Series lineup has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 41 years. It includes the F-150 Lightning electric variant, Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy 2023. “We are the market leader for EV trucks and vans, and we know these customers better than anyone,” Farley told Kramer.
Tesla Cybertruck beta build spotted by Instagram user ftronz
Referring to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Farley said, “if he wants to design a Cybertruck for Silicon Valley people, fine.”
Farley expanded on the topic: “It’s like a cool high-end product parked in front of a hotel. But I don’t make trucks like that, I make trucks for real people who do real work, and that’s a different kind of truck.”
Farley told Kramer he views going to a charging station as a social experience akin to going to a gas station in the 1920s. “People go, oh, that’s a Ford. I thought everyone had to buy a Tesla. Look at that Mach-E over there.” Kramer related the concept to Ford being a Trojan horse in this situation.
In May, Ford announced it will adopt Tesla’s charge NACS port on future EVs. In addition, current Ford EVs will gain Supercharger access in 2024, adding 12,000 charging stations to the FordPass network. Farley told Kramer Musk was respectful during the negotiations of this deal, but it was more because of Henry Ford than Jim Farley.
Ford is investing in the EV future with a new Blue Oval City in west Tennessee and BlueOvalSK Battery Park in central Kentucky. Both complexes are currently under construction and the combined cost will be at least $11.4 billion.
Ford Blue Oval City – rendering of manufacturing complex in Tennessee, September 2021
The Blue Oval City factory and battery plant will be the home of a “radically simplified” new electric truck and three-row SUV. In March, Farley teased the next-generation electric truck, noting it will arrive in 2025 and be the Millennium Falcon of trucks. The SUV will have 350 miles of range, but Ford’s not looking to compete in the range game. Farley has noted the automaker isn’t going to go with 600-mile range EVs.
Despite the next-gen EVs arriving in 2025, cost parity is still a ways out. At an investor conference earlier in June, Farley said for most automakers EVs will remain more expensive to manufacture than internal-combustion cars until the end of the decade. The executive predicted EVs introduced between 2030 and 2035 will “dramatically lower labor content” with simplified manufacturing requirements and parts.