Like Henry Ford, Minnesota Must Lead | Notice

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June 21, 2021

Governor Tim Walz’s decision to adopt vehicle emissions standards originally set by California and now adopted by 14 other states is good for Minnesota‘s economy, citizens and future. Our economy depends on respecting our past successes and challenges, but more so on accepting our present and building a future that protects our environment and strengthens our economy.

As Henry Ford did in the early 1900s by first adopting a living wage for its employees, Minnesota must commit to Clean Cars Minnesota’s position of supporting electric vehicles (EVs) and the opportunities that exist. ‘it will create for citizens, dealers and the economy. As Ford Motor Company did in 2008-09 – when the company was alone among three domestic automakers not in need of a federal bailout, but backed it for other automakers – we need to support the Clean Cars initiative and be leaders in the future. As Ford did last year by being the only national automaker to back California’s position and oppose the short-lived federal rollback of stricter emissions standards, now is the time for our state. to support the Clean Cars initiative. Minnesota is a leading state.

As a rural auto dealership on the Canadian border, I recognize the challenges of electric vehicles. But one argument I strongly disagree with is that dealerships will be inundated with unwanted electric vehicles. I do not believe that. We have over 50 reservations for the F-150 Lightning and I have more demand for the all-electric Mustang Mach-E than I can supply. Consumers want to buy EVs. I want to sell them.

Aside from the challenges, electric vehicles have many benefits for consumers and dealers alike. While it is true that the initial costs of electric vehicles are higher, the charging costs are lower than those of gasoline or diesel, and with much less moving parts, they require less maintenance. The price of the sticker is more than offset by all of these savings.

Clean Car standards do not replace or prohibit any vehicle. Rather, it will complement internal combustion sales, while providing more options. Electric vehicles are fun to drive, with incredible torque. Even my 90-year-old stepdad can’t wait to have his own F-150 Lightning.

The longer we wait, the less choice consumers have and the fewer opportunities Minnesota auto dealers have. Electric vehicles are highly unlikely to be in stock at Minnesota dealerships until we are State Clean Cars. Instead, these vehicles will go to states that have adopted clean car programs. Waiting to adopt Clean Cars will put us at a disadvantage in receiving the highly anticipated F-150 Lightning, along with all electric vehicles.

It would be short-sighted not to recognize that electrifying vehicles is one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet. The younger generation is calling for this transition.

I realize that change is difficult. I grew up and continue to live in a farming community of 900 people. My best friends and neighbors are farmers. They face change more than most – agriculture today is very different from what it was five years ago. Without adapting to change, my friends would not be farming today.

The automotive world is also adapting to survive. Manufacturers are heavily invested and committed to electric vehicles. General Motors will be fully electric by 2035. Within five years, Ford plans to sell more than one million electric vehicles. The government is changing with the new federal leadership and is inclined to adopt policies that were previously in effect before 2017. Fourteen states have adopted low-emission vehicle standards and zero-emission standards aligned with more stringent California rules. More importantly, public opinion is changing. Consumers overwhelmingly support the option of purchasing electric vehicles.

There is an argument that Minnesota should brake, but I would say, as Henry Ford did in the 1900s and Ford a century later, that we should step on the accelerator and lead instead of following. The economy supports the future of electric vehicles. I fully support Minnesota’s efforts to increase sales of electric vehicles. We must move forward smartly and efficiently to put Minnesota on the path to success.


The Minnesota Reformer is an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to keeping Minnesota people informed and uncovering stories other media can’t or won’t tell.



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