Electrification and shared mobility are taking it on the chin during the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But don't count either industry trend out, says former Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields.
"Electrification has a bright future in the industry, but clearly it is going to be a bit of a collateral damage of COVID," said Fields, now senior adviser with private capital firm TPG Capital. He made the prediction last week as part of the video series "Congress Conversations," the 2020 online version of the Automotive News World Congress.
Electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid adoption rates have probably slowed as the purchasing power of American consumers has been diminished significantly, Fields said, noting that "electrified products are more expensive than [internal combustion engine] products right now."
Fields noted that depressed gasoline prices are also working against EVs, as is the pandemic's pressure on federal and state governments to commit their money to more urgent needs than EV incentives.
"But I do think the OEMs will continue to invest in electrification because that is a long-term trend," Fields said. "Oil is a nonrenewable resource."