40% Less labour needed for EV production, says Ford CEO

This past Tuesday (15 November), Ford Motor Company CEO, Jim Farley, made a thrilling claim, saying the manufacturing of electric vehicles would need 40% less labour than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

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By now it has become part of EV lore that the maintenance of these vehicles will be much cheaper owing to the simplicity of EVs compared to their fossil-fuel counterparts. But Farley’s claim, which follows that simplicity also means simplicity in production, has not often been discussed.

Farley, speaking at a conference in Detroit, said this meant the company has to pursue more vertical integration by retraining workers instead of laying them off in order for Ford to manufacture more parts in-house. This will hark back to the heydays of Ford when Henry Ford owned forests, iron mines, limestone quarries and even a rubber plantation in Brazil in an attempt to wholly control the company’s supply chain.

Farley said: “If Henry Ford came back to life, he would have thought the last 60 years weren’t that exciting, but he would love it right now because we’re totally reinventing the company.”

In the light of Ford’s target of reaching 50% EV sales by 2030, Farley acknowledged that the transition would be challenging and that there would be “storm clouds”.

Farley pointed out that the battery production process was one area where jobs could be added and workers could be retrained.

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