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  • By birth and by choice,

  • I've been involved with the auto industry my entire life,

  • and for the past 30 years,

  • I've worked at Ford Motor Company.

  • And for most of those years,

  • I worried about,

  • how am I going to sell more cars and trucks?

  • But today I worry about,

  • what if all we do is sell more cars and trucks?

  • What happens

  • when the number of vehicles on the road doubles, triples,

  • or even quadruples?

  • My life is guided by two great passions,

  • and the first is automobiles.

  • I literally grew up with the Ford Motor Company.

  • I thought it was so cool as a little boy

  • when my dad would bring home the latest Ford or Lincoln

  • and leave it in the driveway.

  • And I decided about that time, about age 10,

  • that it would be really cool if I was a test driver.

  • So my parents would go to dinner.

  • They'd sit down; I'd sneak out of the house.

  • I'd jump behind the wheel and take the new model around the driveway,

  • and it was a blast.

  • And that went on for about two years,

  • until -- I think I was about 12 --

  • my dad brought home

  • a Lincoln Mark III.

  • And it was snowing that day.

  • So he and mom went to dinner,

  • and I snuck out

  • and thought it'd be really cool to do donuts

  • or even some figure-eights in the snow.

  • My dad finished dinner early that evening.

  • And he was walking to the front hall

  • and out the front door

  • just about the same time I hit some ice

  • and met him at the front door with the car --

  • and almost ended up in the front hall.

  • So it kind of cooled my test-driving for a little while.

  • But I really began to love cars then.

  • And my first car was a 1975 electric-green Mustang.

  • And even though the color was pretty hideous,

  • I did love the car,

  • and it really cemented my love affair with cars

  • that's continued on to this day.

  • But cars are really more than a passion of mine;

  • they're quite literally in my blood.

  • My great grandfather was Henry Ford,

  • and on my mother's side,

  • my great grandfather was Harvey Firestone.

  • So when I was born,

  • I guess you could say expectations were kind of high for me.

  • But my great grandfather, Henry Ford,

  • really believed that the mission of the Ford Motor Company

  • was to make people's lives better

  • and make cars affordable so that everyone could have them.

  • Because he believed that with mobility

  • comes freedom and progress.

  • And that's a belief that I share.

  • My other great passion is the environment.

  • And as a young boy, I used to go up to Northern Michigan

  • and fish in the rivers that Hemingway fished in

  • and then later wrote about.

  • And it really struck me

  • as the years went by,

  • in a very negative way,

  • when I would go to some stream that I'd loved,

  • and was used to walking through this field

  • that was once filled with fireflies,

  • and now had a strip mall or a bunch of condos on it.

  • And so even at a young age,

  • that really resonated with me,

  • and the whole notion of environmental preservation,

  • at a very basic level, sunk in with me.

  • As a high-schooler, I started to read

  • authors like Thoreau and Aldo Leopold

  • and Edward Abbey,

  • and I really began to develop

  • a deeper appreciation of the natural world.

  • But it never really occurred to me

  • that my love of cars and trucks

  • would ever be in conflict with nature.

  • And that was true

  • until I got to college.

  • And when I got to college, you can imagine my surprise

  • when I would go to class

  • and a number of my professors would say

  • that Ford Motor Company and my family

  • was everything that was wrong with our country.

  • They thought that we were more interested, as an industry,

  • in profits, rather than progress,

  • and that we filled the skies with smog --

  • and frankly, we were the enemy.

  • I joined Ford after college,

  • after some soul searching

  • whether or not this is really the right thing to do.

  • But I decided that I wanted to go

  • and see if I could affect change there.

  • And as I look back over 30 years ago,

  • it was a little naive to think at that age

  • that I could. But I wanted to.

  • And I really discovered

  • that my professors weren't completely wrong.

  • In fact, when I got back to Detroit,

  • my environmental leanings weren't exactly embraced

  • by those in my own company,

  • and certainly by those in the industry.

  • I had some very interesting conversations,

  • as you can imagine.

  • There were some within Ford

  • who believed that all this ecological nonsense

  • should just disappear

  • and that I needed to stop hanging out

  • with "environmental wackos."

  • I was considered a radical.

  • And I'll never forget the day I was called in by a member of top management

  • and told to stop associating

  • with any known or suspected environmentalists.

  • (Laughter)

  • Of course, I had no intention of doing that,

  • and I kept speaking out about the environment,

  • and it really was the topic

  • that we now today call sustainability.

  • And in time, my views went from controversial

  • to more or less consensus today.

  • I mean, I think most people in the industry

  • understand that we've got to get on with it.

  • And the good news is today we are tackling the big issues,

  • of cars and the environment --

  • not only at Ford, but really as an industry.

  • We're pushing fuel efficiency to new heights.

  • And with new technology,

  • we're reducing -- and I believe, someday we'll eliminate --

  • CO2 emissions.

  • We're starting to sell electric cars, which is great.

  • We're developing alternative powertrains

  • that are going to make cars affordable

  • in every sense of the word --

  • economically, socially

  • and environmentally.

  • And actually, although we've got a long way to go

  • and a lot of work to do,

  • I can see the day where my two great passions --

  • cars and the environment --

  • actually come into harmony.

  • But unfortunately,

  • as we're on our way to solving one monstrous problem --

  • and as I said, we're not there yet; we've got a lot of work to do,

  • but I can see where we will --

  • but even as we're in the process of doing that,

  • another huge problem is looming,

  • and people aren't noticing.

  • And that is the freedom of mobility

  • that my great grandfather brought to people

  • is now being threatened, just as the environment is.

  • The problem, put in its simplest terms,

  • is one of mathematics.

  • Today there are approximately 6.8 billion people in the world,

  • and within our lifetime, that number's going to grow

  • to about nine billion.

  • And at that population level,

  • our planet will be dealing with the limits of growth.

  • And with that growth

  • comes some severe practical problems,

  • one of which is our transportation system

  • simply won't be able to deal with it.

  • When we look at the population growth in terms of cars,

  • it becomes even clearer.

  • Today there are about 800 million cars on the road worldwide.

  • But with more people

  • and greater prosperity around the world,

  • that number's going to grow

  • to between two and four billion cars by mid century.

  • And this is going to create the kind of global gridlock

  • that the world has never seen before.

  • Now think about the impact

  • that this is going to have on our daily lives.

  • Today the average American

  • spends about a week a year

  • stuck in traffic jams,

  • and that's a huge waste of time and resources.

  • But that's nothing compared

  • to what's going on

  • in the nations that are growing the fastest.

  • Today the average driver in Beijing

  • has a five-hour commute.

  • And last summer -- many of you probably saw this --

  • there was a hundred-mile traffic jam

  • that took 11 days to clear in China.

  • In the decades to come,

  • 75 percent of the world's population

  • will live in cities,

  • and 50 of those cities

  • will be of 10 million people or more.

  • So you can see the size of the issue that we're facing.

  • When you factor in population growth,

  • it's clear that the mobility model that we have today

  • simply will not work tomorrow.

  • Frankly, four billion clean cars on the road

  • are still four billion cars,

  • and a traffic jam with no emissions

  • is still a traffic jam.

  • So, if we make no changes today,

  • what does tomorrow look like?

  • Well I think you probably already have the picture.

  • Traffic jams are just a symptom of this challenge,

  • and they're really very, very inconvenient,

  • but that's all they are.

  • But the bigger issue

  • is that global gridlock

  • is going to stifle economic growth

  • and our ability to deliver

  • food and health care,

  • particularly to people that live in city centers.

  • And our quality of life is going to be severely compromised.

  • So what's going to solve this?

  • Well the answer isn't going to be more of the same.

  • My great grandfather once said

  • before he invented the Model T,

  • "If I had asked people then what they wanted,

  • they would have answered,

  • 'We want faster horses.'"

  • So the answer to more cars

  • is simply not to have more roads.

  • When America began moving west,

  • we didn't add more wagon trains,

  • we built railroads.

  • And to connect our country after World War II,

  • we didn't build more two-lane highways,

  • we built the interstate highway system.

  • Today we need that same leap in thinking

  • for us to create a viable future.

  • We are going to build smart cars,

  • but we also need to build

  • smart roads, smart parking,

  • smart public transportation systems and more.

  • We don't want to waste our time

  • sitting in traffic, sitting at tollbooths

  • or looking for parking spots.

  • We need an integrated system

  • that uses real time data

  • to optimize personal mobility on a massive scale

  • without hassle or compromises for travelers.

  • And frankly, that's the kind of system

  • that's going to make the future of personal mobility sustainable.

  • Now the good news is some of this work has already begun

  • in different parts of the world.

  • The city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi

  • uses driverless electric vehicles

  • that can communicate with one another,

  • and they go underneath the city streets.

  • And up above, you've got a series of pedestrian walkways.

  • On New York City's 34th Street,

  • gridlock will soon be replaced

  • with a connected system

  • of vehicle-specific corridors.

  • Pedestrian zones and dedicated traffic lanes are going to be created,

  • and all of this will cut down the average rush hour commute

  • to get across town in New York