Production

Ford Says EV Production Requires 40% Less Labor

Red Ford Mustang Mach E

Photo: Ford

An underestimated benefit of electric vehicles is that maintenance costs are generally much lower than gasoline-powered cars. You still have to buy tires, but regenerative braking means you don’t replace brake pads as frequently. You also don’t have to worry about adding coolant or engine oil, changing spark plugs, or replacing a bad starter. But if it benefits consumers, it also benefits automakers.

Clean Technica reports that according to Ford CEO Jim Farley, the labor cost of producing electric vehicles is about 40% lower than that of a traditional ICE car. On the one hand, it makes sense. Parts you don’t have to worry about replacing are also parts they don’t have to pay someone to install in the first place.

But on the other hand, it’s a surprisingly high number. A full 40 percent? Wow.

Unfortunately for factory workers, being paid by the hour means that each automaker’s significantly reduced labor requirements also pose a threat to their wages and, ultimately, to their lives. their jobs. Call them “cushy union gigs” all you want, but they’re real people whose livelihoods are at risk and whose families depend on them to pay the bills.

Instead of making massive layoffs, Farley would rather retrain current employees. This means doing less outsourcing and bringing more work in-house. “We need to internalize, so that everyone has a role in this growth,” he said.

Theoretically, this could mean moving workers from vehicle production to battery production. But will Michigan workers want to move to Kentucky or Tennessee to work at Ford’s new battery production facilities? And will they have to give up their union membership to keep their jobs? It’s good that Ford seems to care about retaining workers as it transitions to electric vehicles, but right now there are still a lot of unanswered questions.