The Latest Victims of Electrification

  • October 18, 2023

700 Ford autoworkers won’t be working anymore, courtesy of “electrification.” Sales of Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric truck are fizzling – down 45 percent for the third quarter  – and that means Ford only needs about half as many workers to keep up with “demand.”

So, bye-bye to those 700 workers.

Ford says it’s just a passing glitch that will resolve in the future. A certain mustachio’d someone said something similar to his army surrounded at the city on the Volga.

According to news reports, the automaker is operating under “multiple constraints, including the supply chain and working through processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after restarting production in August.”

Well, okay – except those are resolvable problems. If Ford thinks so, then why cancel the jobs of those 700 workers?

The reasons why are twofold – and not resolveable.

The first – obviously – is there’s less work to do right now. Ford can’t  be expected to keep producing the same volume of vehicles that aren’t selling. Especially right now – because right now is two months and a couple weeks shy of 2024 and making more 2023 Lightnings when the inventory of them is already sufficient (according to reports) to supply demand for at least the next two months would be tantamount to flushing a clogged toilet one more time and hoping it won’t overflow the brim.

Ford dealers are already having to wheel and deal to get rid of their stacked-up stock of ’23 Lightnings – and may not be able to clear the clog before 2024 arrives, after which every unsold ’23 Lightning is last year’s Lightning and will have to be fire-sale sold to entice potential buyers to take them off of dealers’ hands (and off their books).

The problem is compounded as regards EVs because it’s not just a question of the vehicle being last year’s model. If an EV has been sitting on a lot for the past six months, so has its battery. Batteries lose efficacy – their charge-holding capacity – at a rate of 1-2 percent annually. This fact is not well-known (yet) but as it becomes known, prospective buyers will want a discounted price to reflect the fact that the six-month-old EV they are buying has already lost perhaps 1 percent of its range and maybe more, if the dealer didn’t keep it plugged in (and topped off) while it was just sitting all those months.

If it sounds petty, consider how you’d react if you bought a non-EV and after six months or a year, the advertised mileage was down by 1-2 percent. Would you be ok with that? How about after six years or so – and now down 5-6 percent? In the case of the Lightning – which comes standard with 265 miles of best-case range, fully charged, a s6 percent loss over six years would leave you with only have about 249 miles of range.

And by ten years out . . .?

It helps explain why sales of the Lightning are cratering. But that cratering is not a temporary problem that will resolve – and Ford knows it. Ford may not say it – but that’s another matter, not unlike people not saying they know perfectly well that Lia Thomas isn’t a woman but aren’t willing to say it. The reasons why are similar. They are the same reason why everyone in the emperor’s entourage said they thought the emperor’s new clothes looked marvelous.

Of course, the emperor was wearing no clothes at all.

The child’s story is a lesson in the power of social pressure to pretend and go-along; to say what you don’t actually believe – because everyone else is saying it, too. Unfortunately, such lessons aren’t taught to kids anymore and many of them have grown up to run large corporations.

But some will be able to see the nakedness of the emperor. There are 700 of them in Michigan, who are out of work for now and probably for good, at least insofar as working on a Ford production line. This brings us to the less-obvious aspect of Ford’s letting-go of those 700 workers.

They are merely the first of many.

This would be so even if the Lightning were selling well – because it is a battery powered device and the fact is it takes fewer workers to put one of those together than it does to put together a vehicle that has an engine made of hundreds of parts and a transmission and axles and differentials. Underneath the extruded plastic carapace (the carapace may also be formed of metal but the key thing is there are fewer panels; more about that here) there is a battery – already assembled mostly by robots – and a motor, perhaps two. Some EVs have one to drive the front wheels, others the rear – and some have both for each pair of wheels. But none have a transmission because the motors turn the wheels directly – and there are just a few connections to be hooked up between the battery and the motor.


And much more quickly, with fewer workers needed.

This might be a good thing – for buyers – in that less work (and workers) needed to make something generally means the thing costs less. But that is not the case with EVs, because the battery drives the cost up far beyond whatever is saved by reducing manufacturing complexity and the number of people needed to manufacture it.

And it is a very bad thing for the workers, whose work is no longer required.

. . .

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

If you like items like the Keeeeeeev T shirt pictured below, you can find that and more at the EPautos store!







The post The Latest Victims of Electrification appeared first on EPautos – Libertarian Car Talk.

Spread the love