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Ford Motor Company announced last week that it is adding hundreds of union jobs in the midwestern states of Michigan and Missouri coupled with investments of hundreds of millions in several existing plants.The Detroit News reported that the company is taking the next steps in electrifying the most popular and iconic vehicles in its fleet — the Mustang, the F-150, and the commercial van. It will build a fully electric version of its best-selling Transit cargo van — at its Kansas City Assembly plant, and make a $100 million investment and add full-time, permanent jobs to the facility in Claycomo, Missouri. The Company also said interest in its upcoming electric F-150 is so strong that it will increase production plans by 50% at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant.
Why This Matters: The company appears ready for a new Biden administration — it even ran an ad during Sunday NFL games called “The Change” to publicize its commitment to lowering its carbon footprint. The company is positioning itself for the policy reversals that President-elect Biden promised — and to put the pedal to the metal on EVs. The company was part of a compromise with the state of California’s air pollution chief Mary Nichols that the Trump White House blew up. But that California deal could now serve as a template for federal emissions standards through 2025, which would incentivize Ford and other car companies to build more EVs.
Ford’s Big Bet – An Electric Commercial Van
Ford also revealed this week its new E Transit van, which is an electric version of the workhorse Transit van, Road & Track reported. The E Transit has a 67-kWh battery pack feeding an electric motor with 266 horsepower and a range of 126 miles. According to Road & Track, it can be charged from both 120- and 240-volt outlets. It also has new features like a slick infotainment system and CoPilot 360, its suite of driver assistance technologies. There are many configurations, and some even have prices starting under $45,000, with the first deliveries are expected late next year. The Transit van was the country’s best-selling van last year, with more than 150,000 sold. Ford wants to tap into new revenue streams with its new Transit models by offering fleet operators “data-driven services that will increase uptime and efficiency” and save them money.
The F-150 Truck Plan
Ford has already made clear it is willing to invest heavily in electric trucks — it announced back in September that it is going to invest $700 million at its plant in Dearborn to support the production of the new F-150 lineup, including battery-powered pickup slated for release in 2022. The company is building a brand new, 500,000-square-foot EV manufacturing facility at Dearborn Truck where the electric F-150 will be built. They are already producing a redesigned F-150, including a hybrid version, at their Kansas City Assembly plant, as well as in Dearborn.
Gas flaring was responsible for Texas’s recent increase in oil refinery pollution, but it’s hardly a new problem. We’re less than a decade away from the UN’s goal of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, but refineries still flare 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, releasing 400 million tons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Why This Matters: Companies have historically practiced gas flaring as a convenient and inexpensive way to “dispose of ” gas that was extracted alongside oil, as opposed to storing paying to store it.
Despite over four million Texans losing power during the recent deep freeze, oil refineries released an increased amount of pollution into the air. In a state that leads the nation in both power production and carbon emissions, experts say that failure to winterize power infrastructure resulted in harmful releases of toxic air pollution.
Why This Matters: Texas is the nation’s leading power producer, and to achieve this, the state has heavily deregulated not only its power grid but the fossil fuel industry as well.
People riding American subway lines are exposed to air pollution that’s worse than a bad day in Beijing, according to new research that studied subway networks in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and D.C.
Why this Matters: We hope Secretary Pete takes note because this is an environmental justice issue.
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