Delhiford.com Company, of winning through sustainability. Profits will rise, argues the automaker’s executive chairman and the great-grandson of Henry Ford, as it delivers vehicles that are better for the environment, made in plants that are increasingly energy efficient and, consequently, less costly to operate. For years, few in the company seemed to fully embrace this vision. But in the wake of rising oil prices and a global economic crisis, the managerial ranks have rallied behind Bill Ford’s drive for sustainability.
To become a thriving, profitable business again, as Bill Ford readily acknowledges, the company still has challenges ahead, but he says he has never seen it as focused and driven as it is today. He spearheaded the remake of the River Rouge plant, once decaying but now a test lab for sustainable manufacturing practices. Ford’s leadership on environmental and manufacturing issues extends beyond his company.
I think in the medium term, we will certainly have a mix. We also have not given up on hydrogen, in particular. We have not only a fuel cell—we have hydrogen internal-combustion engines too. Having said that, for all these new systems, you get into national infrastructure issues. Infrastructure becomes the gating mechanism.
Then you’re going to have to tear up every corner gas station, and you will have storage issues not only on site but also on the vehicle itself. And how you ship hydrogen to the stations is another challenge. It is impossible to find a strong global economic power that does not have a strong industrial base. It can’t mean old smokestack industries. It really is about the application of new technology to modernize those old industries and also about investment in new technologies, such as alternative energy.