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Electric Ford F-150 Two Years Away As Rival Startups Rake In The Cash

Electric Ford F-150 prototype.
Electric Ford F-150 prototype.
Photo: Ford
The Morning ShiftAll your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn't your time more important?

Startups like Tesla and Nikola are enjoying valuation surges while Ford struggles to make waves, covid-19 is far from gone, and Uber keeps learning business lessons the hard way. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Thursday, June 11, 2020.

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1st Gear: Meanwhile At Ford

Tesla just hit a record-breaking valuation on the back of “leaked” plans from CEO Elon Musk to kick it into high gear (again, again, again, again). Nikola, an electric truck startup that has made exactly zero cars, also saw a crazy spike in value on the back of news it will begin taking deposits in a month.

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Meanwhile at Ford, a company with a much more solid record of not necessarily always having to keep it in high gear, and one that has built a lot of cars, is on track to release an electric version of the best-selling pickup truck in America as EV hype booms, and just signed a deal with the biggest automaker in the world. So where’s the crazy valuation for Ford?

I’m sure that’s exactly what Ford’s wondering, via Automotive News:

Ford Motor Co. will offer battery-electric versions of its F-150 pickup and Transit van by mid-2022, COO Jim Farley said Wednesday.

It’s the most detailed timeline yet for the company’s electric vehicle plans and comes as Ford faces increasing competition in the EV space. The automaker previously said only that the Transit EV would be a 2022 model year vehicle and that the F-150 EV would be available in “the next couple years.”

Both products are key to Ford’s strategy of increasing its focus on high-margin, commercial vehicles. They face challengers on all sides, including electric startups such as Rivian and Bollinger Motors as well as traditional rivals such as General Motors, which is planning its own electric van, according to Reuters.

[...]

Wall Street in recent days has continued to place high value on EV makers. Tesla Inc. stock has continued to soar, despite CEO Elon Musk recently signaling trouble ramping up Model Y production. And Nikola Corp., an aspiring EV commercial truckmaker, now has a higher market cap than Ford despite producing no revenue.

“I see opportunity for Ford,” Farley said Wednesday on CNBC when asked about Nikola’s market cap.

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Slapping Mustang on a pig and praying it’s sexy enough to sell just isn’t enough to get the referees of capitalism to like you.

2nd Gear: Second Wave Is Here

Look, when it comes to answering the age-old question of, “should I risk getting a deadly virus for anything?” You are asking the wrong guy. I’m advising my friends to cancel any trips in a month starting with the letter J, because Texas, Florida, California and more see hospitalizations spike at an alarming rate.

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More from Bloomberg:

A second wave of coronavirus cases is emerging in the U.S., raising alarms as new infections push the overall count past 2 million Americans.

  • Texas on Wednesday reported 2,504 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic emerged.
  • A month into its reopening, Florida this week reported 8,553 new cases — the most of any seven-day period.
  • California’s hospitalizations are at their highest since May 13 and have risen in nine of the past 10 days.

A fresh onslaught of the novel coronavirus is bringing challenges for residents and the economy in pockets across the U.S. The localized surges have raised concerns among experts even as the nation’s overall case count early this week rose just under 1%, the smallest increase since March.

“There is a new wave coming in parts of the country,” said Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s small and it’s distant so far, but it’s coming.”

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Sorry “Eric Toner,” if that is your real name, but thousands of new hospitalizations is not “small,” and four of the largest U.S. states from California to Florida are not “distant.” This is alarming, and you all should be more careful than you want to be.

3rd Gear: Uber Fails To Secure The Bag

Uber is blaming GrubHub for not playing fair in skirting anti-trust laws if the two were to merge, ultimately leaving Takeway.com to come in and buy GrubHub out from under Uber’s proudly-raised nose.

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How the Uber deal failed, from Reuters:

The deal would almost certainly draw scrutiny from antitrust officials and politicians wary of big mergers that could lead to job cuts, as the economy reels from the COVID-19 pandemic’s fallout.

That is when the negotiations stumbled. Uber refused to commit in advance to specific concessions it would make to regulators and politicians to see the deal through, according to sources close to Grubhub. From Uber’s perspective, it was Grubhub that refused to address practices that could become issues in a regulatory review, such as its charges to restaurants and the “cybersquatting” of internet domains, according to sources close to the ride-hailing giant.

The two companies could also not agree on the breakup fee that Uber would pay Grubhub were regulators to shoot down the deal, sources close to both companies said.

Other issues came up as well. Maloney wanted to head Uber’s new food delivery division, a role Khosrowshahi intended for Uber Eats chief Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, a source close to Uber said.

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Uber was reportedly “taken by surprise” that another company placed a bid for GrubHub. If you’re cocky enough to think you’re the only company big enough to even try to buy GrubHub, I can’t imagine it’s anybody else’s fault you failed to secure the deal.

4th Gear: Tesla Yields To German Environmental Concerns

Tesla has been trying to get started on its upcoming German plant near Berlin, but locals have repeatedly expressed concern over the local environmental impact of the presence of a new factory.

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The automaker apparently finally figured out a way to make everybody happy, Auto News reports:

Tesla Inc. revised construction plans for its first European car factory near Berlin, reacting to issues with the region’s sandy ground and concerns the project will use up too much water.

The new documents, filed this week, include provisions for new pile foundations needed for stability and a “significant” reduction in the plant’s water consumption, Brandenburg’s Environment Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

CEO Elon Musk is pursuing an ambitious timetable by targeting mid-2021 for the factory to produce electric vehicles.

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If it opens by then, it’ll employ up to 12,000 local workers and start churning out the Model 3 and Model Y for the regional market.

5th Gear: Company Vows To Make Money

Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, proudly announced it will likely manage to remain profitable through the covid-19 panic and economic downturn.

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From Auto News:

Toyota Motor Corp. will remain profitable during the coronavirus pandemic, using lessons it learned during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, CEO Akio Toyoda told shareholders at the Japanese automaker’s annual meeting.

As part of efforts to assist to cash-strapped customers, Toyota is relaxing auto-loan payment deadlines and offering used rental cars instead of new ones, Japan sales chief Yasuhiko Sato said at the meeting.

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The company’s production plans of building 3 million vehicles a year also will not be impacted by recent events. On the one hand, it’s nice that Toyota is able to sustain this sort of harsh economic climate thanks to experience from the past. On the other hand, it’s depressing how frequently these economic crashes are occurring.

Reverse: The Russia Next Door

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Neutral: What’s More Appealing Right Now?

Which one are you genuinely more interested in—an electric refresh of the current Ford F-150, or something all-new like the Rivian R1T?

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

miltonnabe
Third Gear

When COVID-19 first started wreaking havoc in the USA, it was important to shut down the pandemic in areas where it was overwhelming medical care, and to safeguard at-risk populations.

But it’s completely unrealistic to believe everyone should stay in their homes until a vaccine can be widely deployed. First, people are social creatures and crave interactions with others. Second, the economy will crater. It has already suffered significantly but is propped up by PPP, which will soon be fully spent. In a few weeks, we will find out what happens when that money is gone.

What we have to do instead is re-open safely so that at-risk people are protected. Others should be allowed to resume activities in a safe manner. This means people who can work remotely should be encouraged to do so, while those that are outside are expected to take appropriate protections. It also means a continuation of the safety net for those who cannot work due to health conditions.

COVID is here to stay. As people resume parts of their normal life, more people will get sick. That’s a reality, but it’s most important that the medical systems don’t get overwhelmed.