Detroit's two biggest automakers aren't quite charging headfirst into electric propulsion.
Ford and GM have taken turns making a big deal about their respective electric vehicle plans, Ford with its battery-powered F-150 and Mustang Mach-E crossover, and GM with its "all electric future" promise and grandiose Super Bowl Hummer EV trailer.
Yet despite all the buzz the two automotive titans have generated, both are poised to take a measured, tepid approach to embracing our shared electric-propulsion future, with Reuters reporting that EVs will make up a slim minority of Ford and GM's future production numbers. Based on some detailed North American production plans Reuters recently got ahold of, the two automakers will churn out a combined 5 million or so gas-powered utility vehicles in 2026, next to just 320,000 electric vehicles.
To be clear, we're discussing North American production plans only; a sizable portion of Ford and GM's future EV output seems likely to come from China, where the regulatory environment favors battery power much more than in the US. Still, Chinese-built vehicles are likely to represent only a sliver of Ford and GM's North American sales by 2026, and both automakers have already announced sweeping plans for North American EV production, Ford in Flat Rock, Michigan, and GM at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.
The automakers' shared hesitance to dive headfirst into anything like Tesla's frenzied EV production rate is informed by an understanding of the US auto market; gas-powered vehicles aren't going away anytime soon, especially with the recent drop in oil prices, and consumers are choosing crossovers and SUVs over cars in droves.
In fact, citing data from AutoForecast Solutions, Reuters reports that North American utility vehicle production could outpace car production by eight to one come 2026. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering that Ford has announced an end to "traditional sedan" sales in the US, and GM isn't far behind, with a slew of recent model cancellations like those of the Chevrolet Impala and Buick Regal.
As for Ford and GM's penchant for hyping their respective electric vehicle efforts, that might be explained by their desire to chase after investor dollars.
The Detroit automakers are "trying to play to Wall Street, which thinks the future is all about electric vehicles," AutoForecast VP Sam Fiorani told Reuters. "The Detroit automakers would love to get a little of that Tesla magic and money."
Read more about Ford electric vehicles.