Ford Motor Co. hopes to become the world's second-largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer in two years, with an annual production capacity of nearly 600,000, said Ford North America Chief Operating Officer (COO) Lisa Drake.
Drake said the automaker's optimism stemmed from growing demand for its next new EV, the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, with retail orders approaching 200,000.
Reuters previously reported that Ford is likely to compete with Stellantis for third place in the EV production “race” by 2025, behind Tesla and the Volkswagen Group, based on production forecast data provided by AutoForecast Solutions.
Speaking at an investors conference, Drake said Ford was working to vertically integrate more EV components, including power electronics and e-drives, in existing facilities that make parts for combustion vehicles — a modern take on founder Henry Ford's pioneering work in building many of the components themselves.
“We haven't used ‘vertical integration' in this industry for a long time,” Drake said.
He said Ford is working with five global battery suppliers to manufacture and help develop battery cells for future EVs, aiming to build a global 240 gigawatt-hour production capacity by 2030. Those suppliers include SK On, LG Energy Solution, CATL, BYD. , and Panasonic.
Ford expects to reduce the cost of its EV battery cells to $80 per kilowatt/hour at the package rate.
The automaker is looking at different cell chemistry, including cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate, and cell-to-package structural batteries to help reduce costs.
Ford and BMW are teaming up with Colorado-based startup Solid Power to develop a solid state battery, which Drake says should be commercialized “well before the end of the decade.”