The Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and E-Transit all enjoy high customer demand in the US. That’s why manufacturer Ford is now stepping on the… stream pedal to boost production of its electric (and in some cases non-electric) models.
Ford will also offer its Mustang Mach-E electric model in Europe with LFP battery cells before the end of 2023. Detailed technical aspects and prices for the electric SUV with the new battery variant have yet to be available. But the manufacturer surprises with a statement on charging performance.
Double or triple production
Changes at the Cuautitlan plant in Mexico will nearly double the hourly production of the Mustang Mach-E, bringing the annual manufacturing rate to 210 000 units by the end of the year. “Mustang Mach-E helped propel Ford to No. 2 in US EV sales in 2022 and is bringing new customers to Ford, with more than two-thirds of customers coming from other brands,” the manufacturer writes in its press release.
“We have had a strong start to 2023 sales, and we are moving to fast-track quality production,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford Blue’s President, in addition. “Increasing production benefits both our customers and our business.”
In Michigan, production of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is expected to triple this year. By the end of 2023, Ford aims for an annual production rate of 150 000. The vehicle remains the best-selling electric truck in the United States. Ford sold 3 600 units this year through February and already delivered 15 617 electric trucks in 2022.
Production of the F-150 Lightning will resume on 13 March after Ford discovered a possible battery problem a few weeks ago, forcing it to halt manufacturing. However, sales of electric trucks that had already been constructed continued.
At the Kansas City plant, Ford is also increasing production of the Transit and E-Transit by 38 000 units annually. Ford recently received an order for 9 250 E-Transits from the United States Postal Service (USPS). Ford will invest $95 million in expanding production in Kansas and create 1 100 new jobs there.
The reason for the increase in production is higher demand from customers. According to the automaker, demand for electric cars continues to rise, saying its electric vehicle sales are up 68% through February.
Ford previously announced this step to LFP cells for North America as well. And since both versions – the one for North America and the one for Europe – are both built in Mexico, there are presumably no further adjustments to the production line necessary. How many vehicles Ford can build with LFP batteries will depend on the latter’s availability. The supplier is CATL.
In 2024, LFP cells will also be used in the F-150 Lightning in critical global markets. Using lower-cost lithium-iron-phosphate and nickel-cobalt-manganese batteries should allow Ford to ramp up the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning production more quickly.
In addition to business reasons such as faster production scaling, Ford also says that LFP batteries will reduce dependence on raw materials such as nickel and cobalt. And customers would be able to choose their electric vehicle and the battery performance based on their individual mobility needs.
Here, the automaker is alluding to the differences between NCM and LFP cells, such as the better cycle stability of LFP cells and the cost advantages. Ford says it could even help lower the selling prices of its EVs. However, the energy density of LFP cells is lower, which is why they enable shorter ranges than NCM cells. The latter can also deal better with low temperatures, although Ford points out that technical measures could improve the cold tolerance of LFP batteries.
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