June 26, 2020
Ford unveiled its new 2021 F-150 on Thursday, a hybrid truck loaded with features, and reportedly able to travel 700 miles on a tank of gas.
"This is the first major update for five or six years for us. It's America's best-selling vehicle, and we have to keep it, not just updated, but the best-in-class," said Jim Farley, Ford's chief operating officer.
Despite upgrades like over-the-air system software updates, the full-size pickup truck still relies partially on gas as fuel in an era of all-electric vehicles coming from the likes of Tesla or Nikola.
However, Farley noted that the auto giant has plans for that space as well.
"In the next 24 months, we will launch an all-electric F-150, and we aren't stopping there. We're also going to launch an all-electric transit van," he said. "The hybrid F-150 we're launching this fall is going to be a great bridge to that."
Even as Ford looks to the future, the automaker, like everyone else, had to contend with the present coronavirus pandemic, requiring changes and upgrades to their manufacturing operations in order to get back up to speed.
"It was a really difficult time for Ford, but we used that downtime to prepare for what we're going through now, which is getting up to full production," Farley said about the past several months. "This week is a marquee week for us. We're up almost to full production in North America, we're building production in Western Europe and in China, around the world."
He also explained how Ford drastically reconfigured its facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus and made changes including aggressive cleaning, temperature checks, food delivered directly to workers, and customized personal protective equipment.
"We've had to put social distancing into our plants and redesign all the workspaces," he explained. "It's been months and months of planning, and it's all paid off now."