Ford will use new battery tech to help it build 600,000 EVs per year

Lithium iron phosphate batteries can expand production while improving longevity.

Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Ford is refining its plans to expand EV production, and it will partly lean on new battery materials to achieve those goals. The automaker now expects to hit a global production rate of 600,000 EVs per year by late 2023 thanks in part to lithium iron phosphate battery packs in some of its vehicles, starting with Mustang Mach-Es sold in North America (in 2023) and F-150 Lightnings (in early 2024). The chemistry will expand Ford's capacity, allow for "many years" of use with little range loss, cut manufacturing costs and reduce the dependence on shortage-prone materials like nickel.

At that 600,000-EV rate, nearly half (270,000) of the vehicles produced will be Mustang Mach-Es destined for China, Europe and North America. The F-150 Lightning in North America will account for 150,000 EVs, while the rest include 150,000 electric Transit vans and 30,000 units of a still-unnamed European SUV. Ford said it has secured all the yearly battery capacity it needs to make this target, and 70 percent of the capacity it needs to reach a more ambitious objective of 2 million EVs per year by late 2026.

The news comes just hours after a report that Ford may cut up to 8,000 jobs to help fund its EV plans. The brand recently split into combustion and EV divisions to help with the electric transition, and has committed to spending $50 billion on electrification.

Ford had floated the 600,000-EV production target before. However, the battery developments and narrower timeframe paint a clearer picture of how that growth will take place. As it stands, there's mounting pressure on the company to ramp up its manufacturing. It only built 27,140 EVs in 2021, and has a significant backlog — you can't even place a standard retail order for the 2022 Mach-E "due to high demand." To some extent, the improved scale is as much about catching up as it is preparing for an all-electric future.