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E-Transit van Ford EV Kansas USA Turkey
The Ford E-Transit van. Image courtesy of Ford Motor Company.


UnFudding Electric Vehicles

As legacy automakers move into electric vehicles, it will be interesting to see if they will do some “UnFudding.” For the past 10 years at least, the public has been subjected to a great deal of FUD — Fear Uncertainty and Doubt — around the use of EVs. This has come from a variety of sources all linked to the fossil fuel industry, and still continues by some legacy automakers. We are still hearing that there is not much demand for EVs, for example, or that mild hybrids are a better solution.

We now have OEMs advertising their EV offerings in the media. What is their message? It appears to me that carmakers are keen to sell their electric products and make an effort to show their advantages, but don’t explicitly address the FUD. For example, a recent ad appeared on my Facebook page for the 2024 release of the Ford E-Transit custom van in Australia. A local Ford dealership is seeking registrations of interest. On the dealer’s website, it touts the van as having zero emissions, full connectivity, lower running costs, and helping to reduce a business’s carbon footprint. A FAQ section would be good to deal with some of the questions that will arise.

Most of the comments under the announcement are negative and full of vitriol. How will Ford combat the FUD?

“The new E-transit Custom is the new all-electric work van that’s been taking Europe by storm. Tough and reliable while generating zero-emissions, the E-transit Custom is built with next-gen connectivity at its heart. Keep an eye on this innovative new vehicle and register your interest today.” See the ad here.

As well as getting a lot of laughy face emoji reactions, the Ford van is derided as “Freaking garbage that will only do more harm than good, especially with the types of batteries they use.” And we are advised “Don’t fall for the electric con….”

The van is criticized for being designed in Europe (odd, this is usually a selling point) and therefore unsuitable for Australia’s tropical and subtropical climate. It should be noted that most Australians live in New South Wales and Victoria — which are neither tropical nor subtropical. Obviously, this is not a van for Queensland, the commentator thinks.

The Australian people have had to “make do” with cars designed for Europe, Japan, and North America. I haven’t seen many Australians crying in their beer about their poorly designed BMWs, Mercedes, or Audis. Then the issue is raised about sun cancer — good point, but the van doesn’t have a glass roof.

The last part I agree with: we do need to work out solutions for our wide brown land. It would be great to have a domestic battery production and EV industry. But unless things change radically, I think we will continue to import our vehicles.

Ford, bring on the e-Transit, but please do some UnFudding as well.

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David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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