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Ford slows its push toward electric vehicles| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Ford Motor on Thursday delayed production of at least two new electric cars and said it would shift to making more hybrids. Their decision was the latest sign that big automakers have been forced to rethink their strategy for electric vehicles because sales of those models are slowing.

The shift by Ford and other companies like General Motors and Mercedes-Benz, which have also delayed their electric car plans, has been driven largely by the difficulty these companies have had in making and selling enough electric cars and doing so in a timely manner. profitable.

Sales of these types of vehicles continue to grow, but the pace has slowed dramatically in recent months as automakers have eliminated many early adopters who were willing to spend more than $50,000 on new powered cars. by batteries. Because they are still learning how to make cars and their batteries at a lower cost, companies have not been able to release more affordable models.

Some consumers are also reluctant to buy electric models because they can't charge the vehicles at home or worry that there won't be enough public chargers available when they want to travel more than a couple hundred miles.

Many car buyers interested in electric vehicles appear to opt for hybrid cars, which can cost only a few hundred dollars more than comparable gasoline models. As a result, Ford said Thursday that it hoped to offer a hybrid version of every model it sold by the end of the decade.

The company said it now plans to begin manufacturing a large electric sport-utility vehicle at its Oakville, Ont., plant in 2027, two years later than it had planned. A new plant Ford is building in Tennessee will begin manufacturing an electric pickup truck in 2026, a year later than originally planned.

“We are committed to scaling a profitable electric vehicle business, using capital wisely and bringing the right gasoline, hybrid and fully electric vehicles to market at the right time,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. release.

The slowdown in sales is also hurting the leading US electric model maker, Tesla. This week it reported an unexpected 8.5 percent drop in sales of its electric cars in the first three months of the year.

On Wednesday, Ford said its electric vehicle sales grew 86 percent in the quarter, to 20,223 vehicles, but the total was well below the level the company had once hoped to achieve and came after it cut some prices. .

The company sold more than 7,700 F-150 Lightning pickup trucks, its flagship electric model, in the three-month period. Last summer, Ford expected to be able to produce about 150,000 Lightning trucks a year. The company recently reduced Lightning production from two to one shift per day.

Two years ago, Ford, GM, Volkswagen and other automakers planned to introduce dozens of new electric cars and trucks, hoping consumers would quickly transition to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered vehicles.

But in the second half of 2023, electricity sales growth slowed significantly, forcing manufacturers to scale back their ambitions. Both Ford and GM have also slowed work on new factories that are supposed to supply battery packs for their new electric models.

Ford's electric vehicle division lost about $4.7 billion last year before interest and taxes. By contrast, its division that makes gasoline and hybrid vehicles for consumers made a profit of $7.5 billion.

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