Build Back Better 'is mission critical' for electric vehicle industry: Ford CEO

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read

Ford CEO Jim Farley is keen on seeing President Joe Biden's stalled Build Back Better bill passed in an effort to boost electric vehicle adoption in the United States.

"It's mission critical for the EV industry," Farley said on Yahoo Finance Live.

As it stands now, the Build Back Better (BBB) bill would offer credits of up to $12,500 for consumers if they purchase an electric vehicle. The bill would also aid in the development of more public charging stations.

Both aspects of the bill are seen as key in helping to reach Biden's goal of having half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 being electric vehicles.

But after passing the U.S. House of Representatives last year, the $2.2 trillion bill has died in the Senate amid concerns on the price tag and the potential to stoke greater inflation.

"If we don't get our act together, we'll be behind as a country. It's not just about helping consumers make this transition. All the battery production, all the jobs, the raw material development in our country, all the intellectual property. We were the number one employer in the United States in the auto sector. We want these American jobs, these innovative technology jobs to come to America. This bill and the incentives for consumers will absolutely be the key thing to help us do that. We need to be competitive as a country," Farley explained.

Farley, GM CEO Mary Barra, HP CEO Enrique Lores, and Etsy CEO Josh Silverman are among the top leaders that will meet with Biden on Wednesday to discuss Build Back Better.

U.S. President Joe Biden test the new Ford F-150 lightning truck as as he visits VDAB at Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 18, 2021.  REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Joe Biden tests the new Ford F-150 lightning pickup truck with Ford CEO Jim Farley as he visits VDAB at Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

To be sure, Ford isn't staying parked in neutral when it comes to its electric vehicle ambitions as lawmakers debate BBB.

The Detroit-based auto giant said in September 2021 it will partner with SK Innovation to invest $11.4 billion to construct two "mega-sites" — one in Tennessee and the other in Kentucky — that will build electric trucks and batteries.

Ford's portion of the investment — $7 billion — is the largest manufacturing investment in the company's 118-year-old history.

Farley told Yahoo Finance Live he would like to reach electric vehicle capacity of 600,000 units over the next 22 months.

The early demand for Ford's new EVs such as the Mach-E, E-Transit and F-150 Lightning remain robust, according to Farley.

"I think we're scaling before a lot of competitors. Yes, a lot of people are investing — there are a lot of investments in [EV] manufacturing. What I'm encouraged is that in this first inning, our vehicles are sold out," Farley said.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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