Ford is gearing up to build battery powered vehicles just in time to help electrify the government.
President Biden last week instructed all federal departments to draw up plans to replace their non-combat vehicle fleets with all-electric vehicles.
The order covers approximately 645,000 vehicles of various types including 225,000 operated by the U.S. Postal Service. As of 2019, only around 3,000 of them were all-electric so there is a lot of purchasing to be done.
Ford is one of the government’s largest suppliers, but it and General Motors each sell it only about 10,000-20,000 vehicles annually, as they tend to have long operational lives and the turn rate for the fleet is slow. With Biden’s plans still in the works, a firm timetable for the zero-emissions transition has not yet been set.
Regardless of what the pace of adoption ends up being, Ford President Kumar Galhotra thinks his company’s ongoing $11.5 billion electrification plan puts it in a good position to capitalize on it.
“The U.S. federal government is a great customer of ours, as you know, in the commercial vehicle area. We have very strong presence through F-150s, F-250s and up to F-750, and also in SUVs,” Ford President of the Americas and International Markets Group Kumar Galhotra told Fox News Autos.
Ford recently began selling its first purpose-built electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E compact SUV, but will follow it later this year with the eTransit commercial van and also has a battery-powered F-150 in development that’s likely to debut in 2022. Further models have not yet been revealed, but several are in the works. Ford collaborator Roush CleanTech has also developed an electric version of the current F-650 medium duty truck that can go 100 miles per charge and will be tested by Penske Truck leasing this year.
Ford is also one of three finalists competing for a contract to replace 180,000 of the U.S. Postal Service’s aging mail trucks. Although its joint proposal with Oskhosh remains confidential, it isn’t believed to be electric, but it is based on the Transit and could potentially be converted to battery-power, while rival Workhorse is understood to have submitted an all-electric design.
“It’s great news that President Biden is moving the administration in that direction and with our vehicles like the Transit van, all-electric Transit van coming and the F-150 battery electric coming, we definitely see some opportunity there to satisfy that demand,” Galhotra said.