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The timeline is the most detailed Ford has given for EV battery production, which Wall Street is watching closely, and it’s a reversal of the company’s strategy under former CEO Jim Hackett. Producing battery cells in-house is expected to be essential for automakers to reduce electric vehicle costs and secure supply for an expected increase in demand this decade.
“We don’t have to evolve today to justify our own dedicated battery factory,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s product platform and operations manager, said in an interview Monday morning. “But by 25, as we introduce the F-150, E-Transit and another battery-electric vehicle that we’ve announced, we’ll have enough volume in North America to justify our own plant. “
The exact timing of production depends on the electric vehicle market, consumer demand as well as R&D progress, according to Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake. The company, she said, “may be able” to produce its own EV cells by 2025.
Thai-Tang’s comments come after the company announced Monday morning that it would increase its investment in an EV battery start-up in hopes of starting to integrate next-generation batteries, known as solid-state, into its EVs by the end of this decade. .
Thai-Tang said that a single battery cell installation could produce today’s lithium-ion batteries as well as solid-state batteries. Batteries can be lighter, with greater energy density which provides greater runtime at a lower cost. But they are currently more expensive than lithium-ion batteries and in early development.
Ford last week announced plans to invest $ 185 million in a new battery lab to make its own battery cells for electric vehicles, but not full production like Tesla or as General Motors has announced. . Ford is currently purchasing cells from suppliers such as SK Innovation, based in South Korea.
The new lab as well as another $ 100 million battery facility that opened last year, in addition to Ford’s plans to spend $ 22 billion on vehicle electrification from 2016 to 2025.
Ford’s plan to make battery cells began under the leadership of Ford CEO Jim Farley, who took over as the automaker on October 1. battery cells.
According to IHS Markit, electric vehicles accounted for only about 2% of new vehicle registrations in the United States last year. But the company expects that to drop from 25% to 30% by 2030 and 45% to 50% by 2035, according to IHS Markit.