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Ford aligns battery suppliers and iron phosphate technology to boost EV production

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Just a few months after announcing a “radical” split structure that puts its future for electric vehicles in a new segment called the Model E, Ford discusses more details about purchasing battery production capacity and the basic raw materials to power all those EVs. The run-rate by the end of 2023 should support production of 270,000 Mustang Mach-Es, 150,000 Transit EVs, 150,000 F-150 Lightnings and 30,000 units of a mysterious all-new mid-sized SUV slated for release in Europe.

What it failed to mention, however, is a report from Bloomberg on Wednesday, indicating the company plans to lay off as many as 8,000 people from the Ford Blue segment now responsible for its longtime combustion engine-powered business.

Ford 2023 EV Production Plans
Image: Ford

Part of the plan unveiled today includes updates to the batteries used in the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning EVs. It adds lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries made by Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) for the Mach-E in 2023 and the F-150 Lightning in 2024.

Ford says these will be available alongside batteries with existing nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) chemistry, which is a similar approach to Tesla. In Tesla’s Q1 earnings report earlier this year, the company said that “nearly half of Tesla vehicles produced in the first quarter were equipped with a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which does not contain nickel or cobalt. including most standard range vehicles. Ford will take the same approach by using them for standard range battery packs, capitalizing on the strengths of the LFP batteries, which tend to be cheaper but not as energy efficient.

Ford now says it has 100 percent of the battery cell production capacity needed to build 600,000 electric cars and trucks annually by “the end of 2023” with the new packs, as well as doubling capacity at LG Energy Solution’s manufacturing facility in Wroclaw, Poland and additional cells production capacity of SK On.

Looking further into its goal to build 2 million EVs worldwide by 2026, Ford announced a separate non-binding MOU with battery giant CATL to “explore a partnership” to build batteries in China, Europe and North America. That’s in addition to previously announced battery plants in Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as agreements with mining companies to directly source needed raw materials, including “most of the nickel needed through 2026 and beyond.”

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