Ford’s COO, Jim Farley, took to Twitter this week to share how proud Ford was to be “the only American automaker to stand with California for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.” Perhaps read that once more. “We want to leave a better world to the next generation,” Farley added. The tweet was accompanied by a photo with California’s governor and several EVs, including a Tesla Model Y, an Audi e-tron, and the brand new Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Ford is proud to be the only American automaker to stand with California for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. We want to leave a better world to the next generation: pic.twitter.com/9I27AO47Yq
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) September 24, 2020
Farley also tweeted videos of the news conference. It’s great to see Ford pushing for stronger emissions regulations. However, let’s now return to the first claim — “Ford is proud to be the only American automaker to stand with California for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.” I have a few things to say about these statements, but first, I want to point out an obvious technicality here.
Ok Gavin you about to bring down the fire & brimstone from the @Tesla community. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!
— TeslaChillMode #TeslaIndia🇮🇳 (@TeslaChillMode) September 24, 2020
In the video above, California Governor Gavin Newsom also thanked Ford for “being a leader in this space.” He described Ford as being “on the vanguard of leadership” in this electric vehicle movement and didn’t give Tesla, nor Elon Musk, any mention at all. It is as if that they forgot about Tesla — or intentionally left out Tesla and Elon Musk’s contributions toward this sector. I feel that if it wasn’t for Elon Musk and Tesla, Ford — nor the other automakers — would even consider making competitive electric vehicles. They only made them because of the enthusiasm for Tesla and its hyper-popular vehicles.
— 🐶Name of FrunkPuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) September 24, 2020
It should also be noted that Ford seems to have copied Tesla in large part, and it’s been open about Tesla inspiring the Mustang Mach-E. Some media outlets have even called it a “carbon copy” of Tesla’s Model Y.
I feel that when Farley took to Twitter to claim that Ford was the only American automaker supporting California’s new plan, he dismissed Tesla entirely, and that is wrong. I think he knew exactly what he was tweeting and that it was a dig at Tesla for some reason. However, regardless of how I, a Tesla shareholder and supporter, feel about this, let’s look beyond Ford’s pettiness and see just how great it would be if Ford was serious about supporting California’s reduced greenhouse gas emissions plan.
If Ford Takes Action, Here’s What Could Happen
To me, supporting California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction plan means halting any actions you are taking that cause ill effects on the climate.
If Ford truly supported this, the automaker would join Tesla and only make electric vehicles. Ford would cease all internal-combustion engine products and put all of its money, energy, and focus into making electric vehicles. If Ford isn’t doing that, then it isn’t truly supporting climate action.
Let’s look at the implications of what would happen if Ford actually stopped making ICE vehicles and only made EVs.
In 2018, Ford sold 5.9 million vehicles. In 2017, it sold 6.6 million vehicles. That’s a total of 12.5 million vehicles in two years.
According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Let’s do a bit of quick math and, for the sake of this article, assume that each of those Ford vehicles emit 4.6 metric tons of CO2 a year. In reality, it is probably more per vehicle.
When you multiply the 4.6 metric tons per vehicle by 12.5 million vehicles, you get 57.5 million metric tons of CO2 emitted from Ford vehicles sold in 2017 and 2018.
In reality, that number is conservative, since Ford largely sells high-emissions pickup trucks.
If Ford was genuinely “the only American automaker” supporting California’s reduced greenhouse gas emissions plan, we would see much more action, not just tweets and one soon-to-arrive electric vehicle. Meanwhile, as I write this, Tesla’s carbon impact page shows that Tesla owners prevented 3,622,648.5 tons of CO2 emissions. Ford is on the opposite side of things with 57.5 million tons of CO2 emissions.
Instead of hyping up one product and making the outrageous claim that it is “the only American automaker” supporting California’s plans for reduced emissions, Ford should focus entirely on sustainability.
Tesla has put in a tremendous amount of hard work to move forward itself and to push the industry forward. It is reaping the rewards with an enthusiastic and dedicated fan base. Some have criticized those of us who support Tesla, especially when we call out nonsense. However, if you want Tesla fans to be your allies, then don’t come for us, but come with us; don’t make crazy claims that are disrespectful of the dedicated effort Tesla has put in. Tesla’s supporters are the most vocal of all other automaker brands — on Twitter at least. Imagine if those fans were behind your company as well because you chose to join with Tesla instead of taking cheap shots at it.
Ford’s COO and anyone else at Ford has the right to take to Twitter to say how proud they are of their company. I’m proud of Ford too — for being inspired by Tesla to create a good EV, to name it boldly, and to support California’s emissions regulations while other legacy automakers don’t. However, the work isn’t over. We need the roads to be filled with 100% electric vehicles — and quickly. Is Ford prepared to produce the Mustang Mach-E and other electric vehicles in very high volumes?