Ford Chief Futurist talks sustainability and the F-150 Lightning

Ford recently released its 2022 See further with Ford (F), marking the 10th year the historic automaker has surveyed global consumers to identify trends among key demographics. According to Ford chief futurist Sheryl Connelly, climate and environmental issues remain at the forefront of consumers’ concerns.

“So it’s really ‘climate, climate, climate,’” Connelly told Yahoo Finance Live. “We’ve been doing this report for a number of years, and what we’ve found is that in recent years, 67% of people we talk to before COVID even told us they were overwhelmed by the changes in courses in the world. “

She described the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, polarized politics and climate change issues as a “mild worry fever” that consumers have been living with for a year. Heading into 2022, Ford found that 81% of people surveyed in 15 different countries still cited climate change as their top concern.

Ford also found that in 2021, 70% of people polled around the world said they were actively changing their behavior to tackle climate change. However, a few years earlier, they had noted that only 48% of Americans said they were ready to take sustainability initiatives if the downside to them was “little or no”.

Connelly spoke about the American sentiment surrounding sustainability when it comes to electric vehicles.

“And I think that’s really the biggest key here is that people want to do their part but they want to make it practical,” Connelly said. “They want to make sure they don’t worry about how long the charge will last, how much charge range they will get and that there will be opportunities for them to charge.”

An all-electric F-150 Lightning on display at the Motor Bella event in Pontiac, Michigan on September 21, 2021. – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) did not hold its show in the 2021 auto as planned due to the Covid-19 issues but instead they are hosting a self-centric event called Motor Bella. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images)

The push of the EV

With Ford announcing that he intends to rise in power production of electric vehicles to 600,000 by 2023 – the company expects electric vehicles to account for 40% of the global vehicle fleet by 2030 – its trends report wanted to survey consumers on their thoughts on problems related to the adoption of electric vehicles.

“We asked people around the world when [they] think that there will be more recharging stations than petrol stations in the world; 13% of Americans said it would happen by 2030… But if you look at a place like Germany, 34% of people said it will happen by the end of the decade, ”Connelly said.

She cited government engagement levels as the main reason for this difference in consumer sentiment. For example, the German government continues to reorganize your incentive payments for buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles and asked every gas station in the country to install charging stations for electric vehicles as part of its pandemic 130 billion euro stimulus plan in June 2020.

According to Conelly, the key to catalyzing the push for electric vehicles is showing consumers that products like the Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 Lightning and Ford E-Transit minivan can deliver the same level as a V6 or V8. vehicle, and there is no need to compromise between “mileage and horsepower”.

To that end, Connelly explained how the F-150 Lightning was able to win the goodwill of the people of Texas during the winter storms of February 2021 with its on-board generator.

“Our local dealers have sent F-150 Lightnings into the community to help people restore power to their homes. And I think those signals are really starting to change your expectations of what a vehicle can do for you, ”she said.

Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on twitter @thomashumTV

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