Ford Motor Company just took a major step towards its goal of building cars with 100 percent renewable energy Wednesday when it announced the largest renewable energy purchase ever made in the U.S. from a utility.
Ford is partnering with Michigan-based DTE Energy to provide 100 percent of its factory’s power from renewable sources. DTE will provide Ford with 650 megawatts of new solar energy capacity by 2025 — an amount that increases the solar energy in the entire state my 70 percent. That should cover Ford’s energy needs in Michigan, allowing Ford to beat its self-imposed goal for carbon-neutral operations by 10 years.
Here’s some quotes from the folks in charge about this historic purchase:
“This unprecedented agreement is all about a greener and brighter future for Ford and for Michigan,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Today is an example of what it looks like to lead… to turn talk into action.”
“I want to congratulate DTE Energy and Ford Motor Company for taking this significant step to increase our state’s solar energy production and to position Michigan as a leader in climate action,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Efforts like this are the reason Michigan had the best job growth for energy-sector jobs in the country last year, which will help to advance our state’s decarbonization goals, create good-paying jobs and strengthen our economy. As outlined in our state’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, we must take immediate, tangible steps to mitigate climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so we can achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050. Steps like this collaboration between Ford and DTE are helping to move our entire state forward, building on our automotive legacy while protecting clean air and water for future generations.”
It doesn’t quite make up for supposedly knowing its products were causing climate change way back in the ‘60s, but it’s a giant step for the automaker and the state at large. DTE and Ford have been working together for a while to make Michigan’s largest employer a greener place to work. Last year, the utility partnered with Ford to build a 2,159-solar panel array on the roof of the parking structure at Ford’s Research & Engineering Center in Dearborn.
Ford has been working hard on earning its green bona fides. The company began rolling out the Ford F-150 Lightning this year, the first EV truck for the average vehicle buyer to actually make it to market, as well as the Mustang Mach-E two years ago. Just this week, Ford CEO Jim Farley told the Detroit Free Press that the demand for the Blue Oval’s EVs is massive.
“Public response and years-long order banks will allow Ford to ‘grab an outsized share of the rapidly growing EV market,’ Farley said. ‘We have a clear path to reach a run rate of 600,000 EVs by the end of next year. And that will lead to a foundation to 2 million by late 2026’.
“Early sales data indicate Ford is a serious contender, he said.”
Indeed, sales for the Mach-E are already reaching last year’s numbers with four months left to go in 2022, according to GoodCarBadCar.com.
Solar powered factories are all well and good but if you’re waiting for a totally solar-powered car however, you’ll have a while to wait a lot longer. While Ford attempted a solar powered car with its C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, the test vehicle never translated to production. That’s because it’s actually pretty tough to power a car using sunlight. The first commercially available solar powered car, the Lightyear, was only unveiled a few months ago and, at a cost of $266,000, isn’t meant for the average person. It will also likely need to be charged at least every couple of months.