Cheaper petrol won't stop green cars, says Ford chairman

The great-grandson of motoring pioneer Henry Ford, Bill Ford, says the plummeting oil price won’t slowdown research into environmentally-friendly vehicles
Cheaper petrol won't stop green cars, says Ford chairman
William Clay Ford Jr., Executive Chairman Ford Motor Company. (Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Wed 19 Nov 2014 03:23 PM

The recent massive drop in the price of oil will not affect the development of greener vehicles, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company has said.

William Ford, the great-grandson of the company’s iconic founder Henry Ford, told Arabian Business he was not concerned that cheaper petrol would discourage drivers from buying the company’s new environmentally friendly cars.

The price of Brent crude oil has fallen from more than $100 to as low as $82 since June.

"There's no question prices have come down recently; on the other hand we've also seen in the past that they can go up very quickly as well. So the technology path that we're on is one that we’re very comfortable with,” he said.

“We're also giving better performance even as we’re cleaning our vehicles up and that's what people are really interested in. If you can do both, it really doesn’t matter what the price of fuel is because you’re helping them in both regards.

“And we have no way of knowing if this is a short-term issue or a long-term trend but the path that we’ve chosen is one that we’re very comfortable with.”

During a Ford forum on the future of mobility held in Dubai on Wednesday, Ford Jnr said technology and integration between all forms of transport would be key to solving traffic gridlock issues.

“Globally the number of cars on the road is projected to grow from 1 billion to 4 billion by mid-century. Dubai in particular already has more than 1 million registered cars, and if we do nothing we face the prospect of global gridlock,” Ford Jnr told Arabian Business in an interview published on Sunday.

“A never-ending traffic jam not only wastes time and energy, it compromises the flow of commerce and healthcare.”

Ford and other motor companies are investing billions of dollars in research for greener vehicles.

This week Toyota launched the world’s first mass market fuel-cell car, in what its top executive called an industry milestone.

The four-door Mirai sedan is powered by hydrogen and emits only water vapor from its tailpipe.

Ford Jnr said such green technology would only become a greater focus of vehicle development.

“Today’s vehicles are cleaner, more efficient and use more advanced technology than ever before. That transformation will accelerate going forward,” he said.

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