Source: Automotive News Europe, 2021-05-25
Ford Motor plans to announce on 26 May that it is developing two dedicated all-electric vehicle platforms, one for full-size trucks and SUVs, the other for cars and crossovers, as part of a strategy to catch General Motors, Volkswagen Group and Tesla in the global electrification race, sources familiar with Ford's plans told Reuters.
The all-EV platforms are part of an ambitious multi-year, multibillion-dollar plan the No. 2 US automaker will outline to investors at its Capital Markets Day in an online event.
The platforms will give Ford common architectures — including shared chassis components, electric motors and battery packs — on which to base many of its future EVs. That will enable it to simplify and reduce the expense of everything from logistics to manufacturing as it transitions from a global lineup of mostly fossil-fueled products.
Ford said it does not comment on future product speculation.
At 26 May's investor event, the company also will provide more details on its long-range battery strategy, including a recently announced battery joint venture with Korea's SK Innovation, as well as broader goals for electric, commercial and self-driving vehicles, said the sources, who asked not to be named.
Ford previously said it will spend $22bn through 2025 on electrifying many of its vehicles in the Americas, Europe and China. The sources said Ford is planning to launch at least nine all-electric cars and crossovers and at least three electric trucks, vans and larger SUVs, including second-generation editions of the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E at mid-decade.
What Ford CEO Jim Farley cannot predict, however, is whether — and how many — customers will embrace the newer battery-powered vehicles, even if they are able to match or beat current combustion-engine counterparts in price, performance and operating costs. That concern is shared by nearly all automakers except Tesla, whose lineup is 100% electric.
Ford's traditional rivals have sprinted ahead, with both VW and GM committing tens of billions of dollars to electrify their fleets in the same markets as Ford, but on more aggressive timetables. VW and GM each will have at least two dedicated EV platforms, on which many of their future vehicles will be based.
VW launched the first of its all-new EVs, the ID3, in 2020 in Europe, while GM will begin building its new Hummer EV pickup later in 2021 in the US Both companies also are rolling out additional EV models that will share key components with those vehicles.
Ford earlier in 2021 introduced the Mustang Mach-E, an electric crossover built on a new dedicated platform with the internal designation GE, the sources said.
A newer version of that platform, designated GE2, will debut in mid-2023, underpinning new Ford and Lincoln EVs, according to Sam Fiorani, Head of Global Forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions. The same GE2 platform eventually will be used as the base for replacements for the Mustang coupe and Mach-E, the sources said.
Ford will use a second passenger car platform — a version of VW's MEB architecture — in Europe for at least two new models beginning in 2023, the sources said. In February 2021, Ford said its European passenger car lineup will be all-electric by 2030.
Ford has already said it plans to produce a car using MEB in Cologne, Germany, starting in 2023. In April 2021 Bloomberg reported that Ford was nearing a decision to license VW's electric-car technology for a second model in Europe.
The redesigned F-150 Lightning, due in late 2025, is expected to be the first to employ the new TE1 truck architecture, Fiorani said. The first-generation Lightning, which debuts next spring, uses a platform that is heavily derived from the standard F-150.
Ford could also use the new TE1 platform for electric versions of the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition utility vehicles, the sources said.
In addition, Ford is expected to get a new EV, possibly a midsize pickup, that would be based on a platform from EV startup Rivian, in which Ford is an investor.