By: Diane Benjamin
I love reading a site called Michigan Capital Confidential. It isn’t run-of-the-mill boring news, these guy actually investigate. Most of their investigations pertain to Michigan, but a lot of what they find applies to politics in Illinois too.
A story today mentions Rivian and Ford’s investment. The bottom line is: Unless government subsidizes the purchase of an electric vehicle the public won’t buy them. California is talking HUGE subsidies because even their “green” fruit-loops aren’t buying them. Your tax dollars at work!
Last year, Ford announced it would invest $11 billion in EVs by 2022. It also announced it would invest an additional $500 million in the auto technology company Rivian to produce an all-new electric vehicle. Ford has committed to producing 16 fully electric “plug-in” vehicle models and 40 hybrid electrified models through 2022.
But over the past few years, Ford’s electric car sales have declined significantly. In 2018, the publication Inside EVs reported that the auto giant’s EV sales have fallen from more than 3,000 plug-ins a month to less than 500 a month. While at one time Ford offered three plug-in models, it now sells only the Fusion Energi. Sales of the C-Max Energi and Focus Electric models have dropped to almost zero. Bergg did not comment on why Ford believes its new line will be more successful.
“The interests of greens and automakers like Ford are diametrically opposed,” said Henry Payne, an auto writer and longtime industry observer at The Detroit News. “Greens want government to dictate to consumers what they must buy; automakers must respond to market tastes to make a profit.”
Even the huge subsidies offered by progressive California have failed to persuade drivers there to swap their petroleum-powered cars for ones powered by batteries. The Sacramento Bee found that roughly 600,000 electric vehicles are being used in the Golden State — out of a total of 25,646,228 automobiles currently in use. In an effort to encourage Californians to make the switch, Assemblyman Phil Ting, Democrat from San Francisco, has introduced a bill to increase the state subsidy for purchasing an electric car. The rebate would go up to as much as $7,500, a jump from the current rebate of $2,500.
If Ford can’t sell their cheaper electric cars, why would Rivian’s expensive vehicles sell?
Read the whole story here: Green Groups Politicians Media Love Electric Cars – Consumers Cold On Them
16 thoughts on “Is Ford regretting investing in Rivian?”
Ford’s investment in Rivian, like Amazon’s is for the the skateboard battery technology. In places you don’t talk about, Rivian knows its future is based on partnerships. They knew from the beginning they did not have the know how or ability to mass produce vehicles and needed a Ford or GM to help them with the platforms. Ford, like Bezos of Amazon need and want the battery technology but for different reasons. For Ford, it’s about developing a competitive and affordable electric SUV, truck or sedan to complete with their normal competition if the industry ever turns in that direction. It’s more about protecting their existing turf. For Bezos, he and Elon Musk are racing to become the dominant entrepreneurs in space privatization. Think of the industrial giants in this country of the 1800’s and their egos. It’s kind of like that. Rivian knows full well they will likely not be Rivian for all that long. They won’t tell you but they are into developing battery vehicle technology, not manufacturing overpriced yuppy mobiles in the distant future. They will develop the battery technology to the point of their knowledge, sell it, and likely become a partner in various other types of R &D. Besides, the vehicles are being marketed to a niche group of people. The product is not meant nor priced for John Smith anyway. In other words, expect the Normal plant to last six to maybe ten years at the most.
IF you’re a terrorist, BUY an electric car! They run on BATTERIES, and WHAT are they made of-LITHIUM, and WHERE is is mined-ONE of the LARGEST suppliers is AFGHANISTAN, and they are not the FRIENDLIEST country toward the U.S. , and WHO owns MANY of the Lithium mines there-CHINA!
See: Spodumene, etc. on Wikipedia
NOT to mention the batteries ARE expensive..
Rivian will never mass produce a vehicle in that plant. So all the talk about them is a waste of time. Amateurs don’t mass produce vehicles in 2019.
Just today Ford has made news by using a prototype Ford Electric Pickup to pull over a million pounds. To do this they used railroad cars that regularly haul vehicles. They first pulled just the empty cars a measured distance. Then they loaded 42 pickups from previous years, into those rail cars and got to over a million pounds of weight and that totally electric Ford was able to pull it easily and with a woman driver to boot. It appears Ford is still interested in electric vehicles.
Ford is, buyers aren’t
Fleets, like Ryder, Hertz, and others are. Also large trucking fleets, J B Hunt, Budweiser, and a few others already have them on firm orders for 2020.
Let me qualify this too by saying that I’m no eco-leftist. I don’t particularly like the leaky windmills that rain down lubricant on the ground I farm. I’d prefer to let the market decide winners. And I’ve honestly never given a thought to how much carbon I’m saving (or whatever the term is) when I charge up our electric car.
BUT it’s only a matter of time before the market figures out that electric is the future (for the right reasons):
1. They’re fun! Instant acceleration that gas will never be able to match.
2. Torque Torque Torque. 750hp Truck? Yes, please! Once you experience electric torque you quickly realize that Gas and Diesel are a dead-end for pulling and towing.
3. If you have a home fast charger, range anxiety is a non-issue. You just plug in when you get home and you’re ready to roll the next day. It really is more convenient than filling up with gas.
4. They’re quiet. For a farmer with hearing problems from decades of noisy tractors, that’s a big deal.
5. On the used market they’re cheap! Just look at what you can get a used Chevy Volt or Bolt for.
6. I bought used and I do save a boatload of money over buying gas.
7. And perhaps best of all…I don’t feel like a sucker having to pull up to the pumps in BN and pay the extra gas tax. And yes, I’m fully aware of the new IL electric vehicle taxes.
Look, I have no idea if Rivian will make it or not. But root against the politicians making bad policies and bad subsidies, not the cars and manufacturers who make them. I need a pickup for work and I’d prefer my next one be electric.
Ideology (or in this case you being enamored with electric vehicle coolness) does not trump the real world. “BUT it’s only a matter of time before the market figures out that electric is the future (for the right reasons):” Really? The “market” is going to figure all this stuff that you like about electric trucks out eventually? And the market is? People who are buying vehicles that fit their needs and their budgets.
Here is the market for the real world:
1. Does it do what I want?
2. Is it cheaper to buy or at least the same price as a gasoline alternative
3. Is it cheaper or at least the same price to operate as the gasoline alternative
4. Can it carry and tow what I want to carry and tow (Sorry Uni-body Rivian 1/2 truck 1/2 car is not a contender in the real truck market)
4. What are the warranties like compared to gasoline alternatives
5. What is the long term maintenance costs (battery replacement cost etc. compared to gasoline alternatives)
6. Trade in and resale value as opposed to gasoline alternatives
7. Body style and look of the vehicle (sorry no gay looking trucks allowed)
8. Fit and finish of the vehicle (you vehicle makers and vehicle salespeople know what I am talking about)
9. The safety rating of the vehicle as opposed to gasoline alternatives.
10. The range of the truck and where can I charge it if I travel across the country?
It appears that you have exposed in your quote, “the right reasons” why you really are so enamored with the concept of electric trucks. And “the right reasons” are? Because you believe that electric vehicles are better for the environment (they are not) and you would be happy if we adopted them voluntarily. New flash: The market doesn’t care about your “right reasons”.
The real test will be after the purchase. Everyone wants to date the prettiest girl in school at first until they find out what she’s like. Just like any purchase, price, dependability, maintenance costs, trade-in value, safety, etc. will determine the future of electric. What you are seeing now is bandwagon excitement because people don’t want to be left out of the latest trend. Also, everyone thinks they are going to save boatloads of money versus buying gas. I always wondered what happens to electric prices if everyone wants an electric vehicle and purchases one. The cost of electric will increase accordingly. I’ve driven the EV from Mitsubishi. I questioned its overall safety in a collision, the pickup from a stop was horrible and a full recharge took you about 40 miles if you were lucky. Businesses are jumping on board because they think they are going to save on gas costs and they want to be seen as eco responsible. In other words, electric transportation for the common man has much to prove and a long way to go.
Thanks to our great president and his helping the United States become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, we have low gas prices. Unless something unusual happens, we will continue to enjoy low gas prices for the foreseeable future. Electric vehicles are still only for the elites who can afford them. Unless they become price competitive with internal combustion engines, electric vehicles will not move into the mainstream of what regular people buy. Take away the government subsidized incentives and they will be gone.
Rivian, is a scam, a 100% scam, a clever one, I will give them that, they are bilking people at a rate faster and better than any old “snake-oil” peddler in the old days ever thought of achieving. My hope for Rivian is that some how some day they end up having to “pay the piper” so to speak and they are ruined beyond any hope of recovery or “regrouping”. It’s just not nice, and it’s not right to do what Scaringe does to people – I hope Karma finds him soon along with anyone who gleefully joined him in this fraudulent venture of his so that he can never ever make a dishonest dime out of anyone again. I also hope Ford pulls put entirely as well as Amazon – somewhere I am sure they can find what they want without giving another penny to this con-man Scaringe.
I totally agree. Having spent my entire life in manufacturing and many years making cars, I am amazed everyday that ANYONE believes that these jokers will actually MASS produce vehicles. Clark Kent (Scaringe) is a scam artist. The old Mitsubishi plant is scrap metal looking for a truck to haul it away. Fuhrer Koos, his posse and the clueless (never worked a day in their lives) elites of Normal have been conned big time. Production starts for the 2020 model year soon I hear? And if you believe that, you are as dumb as the Koos crowd.
When the automobile was first brought into transportation on a regular basis it was a huge jump in travel. You no longer had to walk or in most cases maintain (feed, house etc.a horse, donkey or yak) what was the main travel source at the daily family level. Until electric cars reach a point where they can claim such an impressive improvement over current gas cars they will fight an uphill battle. Right now the end performance can’t even match gas vehicles. The day that technology can provide 500 miles on one charge that is not significantly affected by below zero weather, recharge in a little longer than a gas station fill-up and price be close to a gas car is when the “golden” era begins for electric.
I have to agree with most comments here about Rivian. I also thought (I could be wrong) that Rivian was going to assemeble here by 2020. Questionable at best since I do not believe any re-tooling of plant has occurred, and that is expensive; also does not happen over night.
Rivian, in it’s past forms as well as now, has never really DONE anything, nor will it ever do anything of any substance, all it is and has been, is a money machine for a few unscupulous people to gouge money out of people who seem incapable of doing any research and are as gullible as sheltered 3 year olds when some fast talking “go-getter’ feeds them a line of bull a mile long complete with a bunch of sharp looking “models” and the like. Electric cars are NOT “the future” and if they are, God help us all. I would rather be on a horse to tell you the truth than in some electric car, or as an actual salesman at a dealership once told me when all they had was electrics for loaners and my car was being repaired and I told him I’d rather walk all day then be in one of those things he looked around and confided “truthfully, I don’t blame you, so would I”.
Wondering out loud, do you think Hank, Tommy.and Alex had to overcome the difficult questions and nay Sayers about their new concepts? Oh and computers, can we remember what all was going to happen when they blew up or didn’t last but a few months.
I’ve never purchased a computer hoping it would sprout wheels someday and dependably get me to Omaha. If your sold, buy one. Hell, buy two. All anyone is saying here is that electric vehicle transportation has a long way to go to prove itself dependable and economical for Joe Q. Public. When it does, I’m sure more will buy. If it doesn’t people won’t.