His focus is to develop and implement new products, business models, and partnerships to ensure success of Ford’s sustainability plans globally, including success of Ford plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles.
John Shegerian: Welcome to another special edition of Green is Good. We’re here in San Francisco at the Green Festival, and we’ve got a very special guest with us today. It’s Mike Tinskey. He’s the Director of Global Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure from the Ford Motor Company. Ford is making another visit to Green is Good. Welcome to Green is Good, Mike.
Mike Tinskey: Thanks for having me, John.
John: Mike, there’s lots to talk about today, but let’s first talk about Ford and the Green Festivals. What cars have you brought today to the Green Festival, and why are they so special?
Mike: Thanks for asking. Ford believes in what we call the power of choice, so we brought both plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and a pure electric. It’s in the form of C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi, both the C-Max and Fusion hybrids, as well as the Ford Focus electric, which runs 100% on electric energy.
John: That’s great. And how has the response been from all the people here?
Mike: It’s fantastic. We’re here in San Francisco, and there’s a lot of want for these kinds of technologies. In fact, I don’t know if you know this, but we sell about 40-50% of all of our plug-ins here in the state of California.
John: 40% right here. I’m not a real car expert or anything, Mike, but has the Ford brand and these great electric cars started going internationally already?
Mike: They have. That’s one of the things that we really like because we build our products globally. Products like the Focus electric are offered as both the Focus electric, they’re also offered as the Ford gasoline, and in Europe as the Ford diesel and the Ford gasoline and the Ford Focus electric. So you take that one product that we build everywhere around the world, and you can take it and offer it as an electric in all those different regions. So to answer your question, yes, the Ford Focus electric has been launched in Europe, and we are about ready to launch our plug-in hybrid over there as well.
John: Wow. So my son just graduated from college in the spring in New York and moved back to California, and he needed a car. So I said, “Son, choose a car, and we’ll go look at it together.” So he took me to the Ford dealership in Santa Monica, and we got the C-Max Energi.
Mike: Oh, you did? Fantastic. First of all, your son, is he nine years old?
John: That’s nice, but no, he’s 21 years old. He did all the homework, and he was so excited and he told me all the benefits that come with it, stuff that I had not even heard of, such as the stickers that come with the car, the fact that in Santa Monica and other cities in California now that are starting to go with the program, you can park for free. You can go on the carpool lane with just one person. There’s so many other benefits that come with your great cars now, it’s just amazing. He loves it.
Mike: That’s great to hear. It’s really good to hear. We hear that a lot. The C-Max Energi that he has can drive up to 19 miles on electric. You mentioned all the other benefits he gets, but one of the prime benefits is it’s green. For that first 19 miles every day, he’s running off of energy here in California that is over 30% renewables.
John: He said that in the first week of driving, he used less than a gallon of gas. He was just psyched. Of course, we took a test drive together, and I drove it with him the first day. It’s unbelievably comfortable and has all the greatest new gadgets inside, really just a wonderful product. It’s nice to talk about it from just seeing it at the Green Festivals, which we’re here today, but it being in our family, I’ve got to tell you, you guys made a great car there.
Mike: That’s great. Will that car be called your son-in-law? No, your car is somehow related, being the father of the son. I think that the whole plug-ins are really starting to catch on. That vehicle he has, there’s really no compromise because if he does go farther, he has a gasoline engine and it runs in hybrid mode.
John: That’s why he chose it.
Mike: I get screenshots sent to me from customers all the time that show me how many miles per gallon they’re getting. Many of them are charging wherever they can find a spot, and here in California, there’s lots of places. There’s a gamefication. People try to stay in electric mode as much as they can.
John: That’s right. He was explaining to me, not only does his apartment building have it, but also the Whole Foods has it, so his whole path of travel has the charging stations now, and that’s just wonderful here in California. It makes it really convenient. Ford’s been on our show before, and we’re so honored that you guys take the time to come on the show. For good reason, we always want you on because you guys are so committed to the environment. Can you share beyond today at the Green Festival and the beautiful cars that you brought, the other commitments that Ford is making to the environment, and what you’re doing way beyond these three wonderful cars?
Mike: Sure. I can give you just a few ideas. You’re right. Sustainability is sort of in our roots. Our Chairman and our leadership are very passionate about it. On the emissions side, it really starts with the climate change. We believe that climate change is happening, and we need to do our part. When we do our products, when we launch our products, we want to be the fuel economy leaders. When we do products like the plug-ins we’re talking about, we want to offer as many of these products for our customers as possible. But it really extends even further than that. For example, we use old blue jeans for sound insulation in many of our products. You have to have sound insulation for your products. You might as well use old blue jeans. Much of our carpet in many of our products is used from recycled plastic water bottles. We partnered with a company called Reprieve, and they actually help us get that carpet and make it out of recycled material. Then we use a lot of grown products, soybeans and others, throughout the vehicle. If you move into the plant side, our manufacturing side, we just announced our fourth plant in the world that will have solar installed to help offset all the electricity use. We took our water usage down by 30% over the past five years. It really extends throughout the whole business to try to the best we can.
John: I also know you guys are big into recycling. Talk a little bit about recycling in Ford.
Mike: I don’t know if you know this fact, but the car is the most recycled product of any consumer product. When a car is done with its life, we can recycle about 95% of it and make it into other things. That’s not the only place we focus on. The other place is at the beginning of its life. We have a whole team. It’s a really cool team at Ford of research scientists. They’re sort of the dream team of how can we grow the raw materials to put into the vehicle? You would be amazed. Everything from the seat coverings to the floor coverings, we have quite a bit, and it’s all sustainable.
John: Even the pressed aluminum in the Ford F-150, most of it is recycled aluminum.
Mike: That’s right. In fact, that company in particular, that new F-150 that we just launched last week, all of the aluminum alloys are from 100% recycled aluminum.
John: Unbelievable. At Ford, green and sustainability and environment is really cultural and a DNA issue. Again, I’m going to make it really personal. I love the car. I was excited. The price was really, really fair, but speak a little bit about, Mike, and I was shocked when this happened, the tax advantages and the rebates available to people who want to avail themselves of your wonderful cars.
Mike: Sure. The government has a vested interest in seeing this happen because running on electricity is better for the planet. Let’s use a Focus electric as an example. We just lowered the MSRP to just under $30,000 to $29,900. If you take that vehicle and purchase it for that price, you are eligible for $7,500 from the federal government. In this state, you’re eligible for another $2,500, so there’s $10,000 right there. Some cities have additional incentives, depending on where you live. Then you add in the savings you’re going to get from running on electricity versus gasoline. You throw in some of the savings of your time, based on going in HOV lanes, as you mentioned, etc. Airport parking has been a big benefit. You add in those other intangible, not monetary, incentives, and you start seeing a very compelling case.
John: Mike, we’re so thankful for you guys coming back on Green is Good today. For all our listeners out there, please go and check out all the great green vehicles made by Ford at www.ford.com. Mike Tinskey, you are living proof that green is good.
Mike: Thanks, John.