CBS Admits EV Complications, Says Customers Don’t Want to Be ‘Forced’

Monday’s episode of CBS Mornings included a segment on declining interest in electric vehicles. CBS admitted the complications, with correspondent Ben Tracy citing customers’ desire not to feel “forced” in their car purchases.

Co-host Tony Dokoupil began with a survey from AAA which “says 63 percent of potential car buyers surveyed are unlikely, they say, to purchase an EV for their next vehicle.” Instead, as Tracy discovered in his interview with Ford production manager Courtney Reeves, customers were far more interested in hybrid cars. Ford saw a 30 percent increase in hybrid sales, just in the past year:

[Hybrids] hit the sweet spot for consumers who want to save on fuel costs or lower their emissions but don’t yet want a fully electric vehicle because of concerns including price, range anxiety, and evolving battery technology.

In his interview with Tracy, Andrew Frick, the president of Ford Blue, called hybrid cars the “bridge from gas to electric,” explaining that “customers obviously [want] to make the right choices for themselves” and Ford “want[s] to cater to our customers.”

Tracy re-aired part of a 2022 interview with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who wanted to “lead in EV’s, full stop,” with the company resolving to end all gas vehicle sales by 2035. 

Eric Tingwall, an editor at MotorTrend, told Tracy he was not impressed with these goals, asserting that “any automaker that made an announcement saying they would be all EV by 2030 or 2035 has to be seriously rethinking that right now.” Tracy supported this by reporting that “Automakers, including Ford and GM, have postponed certain EV models and battery plants, calling into question President Biden’s goal of 50 percent of new car sales being electric by 2030.”

But last Wednesday, Barra was interviewed by NBC’s Tom Costello, who complained that EV progress was impaired by red states and by former President Donald Trump’s criticism, suggesting that a second Trump presidency would promote further trouble for the industry.

Barra seemed apprehensive of the Biden administration’s EV goals, stating “We’re gonna give customers a choice,” even though General Motors was previously determined to accomplish their “all-EV” goal:

TOM COSTELLO: But EV’s are more popular in blue states than red. Former President Trump has criticized EV’s. 

Are you concerned that if President Trump becomes president again he could undermine the progress of EV’s?

MARY BARRA: We’ve worked with the Trump administration. We’ve worked with the Biden administration. But the plan we’re in, the strategy that we’re executing is one that we think is right for the long term.

COSTELLO: Bottom line, GM is still putting the gas pedal down or the accelerator down on EV’s?

BARRA: Absolutely. We’re gonna give customers a choice.

Returning to Monday, CBS closed the segment with further commentary on the unpredictability of automotive’s future. “It’s like a luxury really when you think about your car note, and insurance, and the gas,” Jericka Duncan observed while Dokoupil voiced concerns about the duration of the “long-term,” but still optimistically declared, “We’ll get there.” 

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

CBS Mornings

6/10/2024

07:30:13 AM EST

TONY DOKOUPIL: And for “Climate Watch” today we are looking at cars. What type of car would you consider for your next vehicle? Are you sticking with gas, taking a chance on electric, or maybe something in between? 

Well, the Biden administration wants you to drive cleaner, they say, but electric vehicle sales, not growing as fast as they hoped. In fact, AAA says 63 percent of potential car buyers surveyed are unlikely, they say, to purchase an EV for their next vehicle. So, Ben Tracy went to Detroit to find out what people might be interested in buying instead.

[Cuts to video]

BEN TRACY: At this Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, they make the best-selling vehicle in the country–the F-150 pickup truck.

COURTNEY REEVES: Every 53 seconds we have a truck come off this assembly line.

TRACY: Courtney Reeves is a production manager. She says on this day, one out of every seven trucks rolling off the line is a hybrid. 

TRACY: And what was that like a year ago?

REEVES: A year ago it was one out of ten.

TRACY: One out of ten. 

REEVES: Yes.

TRACY: So a 30% increase.

REEVES: Correct. So the consumer is demanding this product.

TRACY: Hybrids, which run on battery power and gasoline, are suddenly hot again. Sales had been falling since 2014 but started to rebound in 2020 and spiked last year. Hybrids now make up nine percent of new car sales compared to about seven percent for electric vehicles.

They hit the sweet spot for consumers who want to save on fuel costs or lower their emissions but don’t yet want a fully electric vehicle because of concerns including price, range anxiety, and evolving battery technology.

So, hybrid is the safe space for the electric curious?

ANDREW FRICK: Yeah, hybrid is a very good space right now for the electric curious. (Transition) We actually see hybrid as a bridge from gas to electric.

TRACY: Andrew Frick is president of Ford Blue which makes the company’s gas and hybrid vehicles. He says Ford now plans to quadruple hybrid production in the next five years.

TRACY: In a new ad campaign, the company is positioning itself as pro-choice.

FORD AD: Gas powered, hybrid, or all electric, the power is yours.

TRACY: I assume there’s customer data that shows people did not want to feel like they were being forced into an electric car.

FRICK: Yeah, we see customers obviously wanting to make the right choices for themselves.

TRACY: Is it fair to say you’re basically going to make whatever car people are willing to buy?

FRICK: We want to cater to our customers.

TRACY: The Biden administration has used regulations to push automakers to rapidly electrify their vehicles, because in the U.S., transportation is the top source of planet-warming emissions. 

Over its lifetime, an EV produces 50 percent less CO2 than a gas-powered vehicle. A hybrid cuts it by 25 percent. So, decarbonizing the American auto fleet would not happen as quickly.

MARY BARRA: We want to lead in EV’s, full stop.

TRACY: In 2022 we talked to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, as the company said it would stop selling gas-powered vehicles by 2035. 

Is this change to all-EV inevitable at this point?

BARRA: I think it’s inevitable.

ERIC TINGWALL: I think any automaker that made an announcement saying they would be all EV by 2030 or 2035 has to be seriously rethinking that right now.

TRACY: Eric Tingwall with MotorTrend says EV prices are dropping, and sales are still growing but at a slower pace. Automakers, including Ford and GM, have postponed certain EV models and battery plants, calling into question President Biden’s goal of 50 percent of new car sales being electric by 2030. 

Does that seem possible at all at this point?

TINGWALL: Possible, maybe. Likely, almost certainly not. I think the long-term future is electric. The near-term future is hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and some gas vehicles, as well.

TRACY: Making that road to an all-electric future longer than expected. For CBS Mornings, I’m Ben Tracy in Detroit.

[Cuts back to live]

JERICKA DUNCAN: Yeah, whether gas or electric, cars are so expensive now. It’s like a luxury really when you think about your car note, and insurance, and the gas.

NATE BURLESON: Yeah. I like the way it was framed in the report about people curious. E-curious.

DOKOUPIL: E-curious.

DUNCAN: E-curious, yeah.

DOKOUPIL: Hybrid space. 

BURLESON: Yeah.

DOKOUPIL: The electric is the long-term but then I don’t know how long that long-term is. We’ll get there.

BURLESON: Hmm. That’s a good point.

DUNCAN: All right. 

(…)

Articles You May Like

NewsBusters Podcast: Joy Reid Hates Louisiana Over the 10 Commandments
How the ‘Blaze Star,’ some 3,000 light-years from Earth, will give naked-eye stargazers ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ thermonuclear event
Biden will not commute Hunter’s sentence, Karine Jean-Pierre confirms
PBS Fawns Over Dr. ‘I Am the Science’ Fauci, Ignores the Big Covid Controversies
Is CBS Suggesting That Biden Will Be Drugged for the Debate With Trump?

Leave a Comment - No Links Allowed:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *