Legacy automaker Ford estimates the annual growth rate for EVs to exceed 90 percent by 2026. The figure is more than double the initial forecasted global industry growth for new electric vehicles. Ford will invest over $50 billion in new EVs through 2026, and the automaker plans to churn out 600,000 EVs annually by late 2023. Helping achieve those ambitious targets are new initiatives to secure battery raw materials and create updated EV battery chemistries, weaning off the industry’s reliance on critical materials like nickel and zinc.
“Ford’s new electric vehicle lineup has generated huge enthusiasm and demand, and now we are putting the industrial system in place to scale quickly,” said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford and President of Ford Model e. “Our Model e team has moved with speed, focus, and creativity to secure the battery capacity and raw materials we need to deliver breakthrough EVs for millions of customers.”
600,000 New EVs by 2023
Ford has also enjoyed bullish demand for its new EVs like the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning. The American automaker increased its manufacturing target of the F-150 Lightning from 40,000 to 150,000 units annually when production officially started in April 2022.
The numbers are part of Ford’s plans to produce 600,000 new EVs by 2023, a marginally bold agenda that includes 270,000 Mustang Mach-Es (North America, Europe, and China), 150,000 Transit EVs (North America and Europe), and 30,000 units of an all-new SUV for European clients. Ford also announced that it secured 100 percent of the annual battery capacity required to support its plan of producing 600,000 new EVs by the end of next year.
Moreover, the automaker has signed multiple non-binding MOUs with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL) and mining collaborators like Vale Canada Ltd., PT Vale Indonesia & Huayou Cobalt, and Australian nickel supplier BHP. In addition, Ford is strengthening ties with existing partners like LG Energy Solution and SK On to fulfill its battery targets for 2023. It also secured lithium contracts with Liontown Resources and Rio Tinto to bolster its initiatives.
“Our team has been actively engaged with partners in the United States and around the world,” said Lisa Drake, Ford Model e Vice President, EV Industrialization. “We will move fast in the key markets and regions where critical supplies are available, meeting with government officials, mining companies and processors and signing MOUs and agreements that reflect Ford’s ESG expectations and underpin Ford’s plan to bring EVs to millions.”
With its newest partnerships, Ford has announced that it secured 70 percent of the battery capacity to produce more than two million new EVs by 2026. Ford plans half of its global production to be EVs by 2030 and wants to achieve international carbon neutrality no later than 2050.
Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries
Joining Ford’s nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) EV batteries is a new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cell chemistry. Ford said LFP costs 10 to 15 percent less than its existing NCM battery and has fewer critical minerals. Chinese battery giant CATL will supply full LFP batteries for the Mustang Mach-E by 2023. Ford’s newest LFP battery will also arrive for the F-150 Lightning by early 2024.
Ford is also working with Eco Pro BM, SK On, Ioneer, Compass Minerals, and Syrah Resources to localize the production of EV battery raw materials in the USA. “These collaborators see value in the strong demand we have created with exceptional products like Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning and the stability we can bring to these relationships,” Drake added. “It’s a very competitive landscape.”