News Story

Automakers pump brakes on EV transition

Ford, GM and Honda all backtrack from EV projects in same week

Politicians in Michigan insist that the transition to electric vehicles is market-driven.

“Anybody who is trying to convince you that it is a mandated transition is lying,” Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, said on the Senate floor this week.

But automakers are telling a different story, driven by feedback from auto buyers. Rather than ramp up EV production, they’re slowing down.

Ford on Thursday — the day of the McMorrow speech — announced it is pausing $12 billion in planned EV investments. Last month, Ford paused work on BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, a $3.5 billion project buoyed by $1.7 billion in taxpayer money and tax abatements.

That project faced local opposition and questions from three congressional committees about Ford’s business arrangement with CATL, a Chinese company and its partner at the facility. Ford has not announced whether that project will resume.

Ford’s backtrack on EVs comes despite a $9 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, announced in June, for its EV facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee. One of the two Kentucky facilities covered by the loan was put on pause. The second, BlueOval City, will continue, CNBC reported.

The day prior, General Motors and Honda scrapped plans for joint EV production, which was an effort to bring costs down and sell at a lower price.

"After extensive studies and analysis, we have come to a mutual decision to discontinue the program,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Ford has forecasted $4.5 billion in losses on EVs in 2023.

As for what vehicles Ford will make, “the customer is going to decide what the volumes are,” Chief Financial Officer John Lawler told reporters this week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan envisions 2 million EVs on Michigan roads by 2030. There were about 37,000 in 2022.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.