Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been criticizing large passive investors recently, arguing that they make decisions that aren’t always in the best interests of companies and "actual shareholders."
He might want to be careful what he wishes for.
Ford CEO Jim Farley told FOX Business that the idea for the ground-breaking electric F-150 Lightning pickup was suggested by a "big investor who said we needed to do it."
Farley said the idea got the ball rolling and gave Ford first mover advantage by beating its competitors, including Tesla, to market with a mainstream electric full size pickup.
"This is history in the making," Farley said.
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"We electrified America’s best-selling vehicle and delivered a truck that’s going to change how people feel about electric vehicles – and about trucks! It’s a big deal. Probably the biggest in my time in the industry."
The F-150 Lightning is now shipping to customers at prices ranging from a $41,699 work truck to a $93,709 top of the line luxury model, and Ford has over 200,000 reservations. It’s essentially sold out for the 2022 model year, but Ford is aiming to ramp up production to a rate of 150,000 annually by the middle of next year.
Farley and Ford are hopeful that leading the electric charge with the F-150 will help change perceptions about EVs as it embarks on a $50 billion journey to electrify its lineup in the coming years. That investment includes a new mega factory called Blue Oval City in Tennessee that will build a next-generation electric truck that Ford hasn’t yet revealed.
"We have every intention of being the top electric pickup maker in the world, I’ll leave it at that," Farley said.
The automaker isn’t done with internal combustion engines, however. Farley acknowledges that electric vehicles are still evolving and not right for everyone yet.
"Our customers today are still going to have reasons to want to buy our iconic ICE vehicles. A super duty customer who trailers their horses or a fifth wheel; a Mustang person who tracks their GT 500; or a Bronco customer who off roads," Farley said.
He also knows there are those who are simply resistant to the idea of buying an electric vehicle, but says don’t knock it until you try it.
"There will be people who feel that way, but I ask them to get into an electric vehicle. Step on that throttle and tell me what you feel."