Ford chief Jim Farley has reportedly said that producing electric vehicles requires 40% less labour than making conventional petrol-powered vehicles.

According to the Financial Times (FT) newspaper, Farley said at a conference in Detroit: “It takes 40 per cent less labour to make an electric car, so we have to insource, so that everyone has a role in this [EV] growth.”

The FT report noted that the coming transition to electric vehicles is widely expected to reduce the number of jobs in the auto industry because they are assembled from fewer parts than petrol-engine powered equivalents. Farley’s warning also hits particularly sensitive ground in North America’s auto industry which is highly unionised.  

A higher degree of vertical integration is one strategic lever that Ford can use to mitigate job losses as its vehicle content and associated supply chain transitions to a much higher percentage of electric vehicle components over the next five years.

Ford recently announced a series of initiatives for sourcing battery capacity and raw materials as part of plans reach a targeted annual run rate of 600,000 EVs by late 2023 and more than 2 million by the end of 2026.

Ford is planning for more than half its global production to be EVs by 2030.