New target is 600,000 battery vehicles by the end of 2024, jumping to more than two million by late 2026.
More than two million Ford electric cars will hit the world’s roads by late 2026 as the US car giant accelerates its conversion to electrified showrooms and lifts its electric spending, with a landmark investment of $US50 billion ($AU72.2 billion) in the same timeframe.
The first step is 600,000 cars by the end of next year, as Ford’s research in the US shows the majority of consumers who will buy a new car in the next two years will choose an electric or hybrid vehicle – up 11 per cent last year and 22 per cent in 2020.
Australia will play a role in the plan, as Ford has signed with BHP for nickel supply from its Nickel West operations in a targeted multi-year agreement that could start as early as 2025.
This may eventually involve additional commodities, after earlier agreements were signed for lithium supplies from Liontown Resources and Rio Tinto.
The Mustang Mach-E is the key model in the current plan, with a production target of 270,000 cars by the end of next year – more than triple Ford’s original forecast for the car — alongside the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit.
The biggest markets for the Mach-E are North America, Europe and China, with no mention of Australia in the official announcement overnight from Detroit.
Even though the Ford Mustang Mach-E is sold in the UK as a factory-built right-hand-drive vehicle, the halo model is yet to be confirmed for Australia.
Ford has also confirmed it will have an all-new SUV for Europe, with an initial roll-out of 30,000 vehicles ahead of a rapid ramp-up in 2024.
However, there is no news on any plan – or even intention – to bring the new SUV Down Under.
“We have said we will bring at least five electrified models by the end of 2024, and the Escape PHEV has arrived. The E-Transit will arrive late this year, and the E-Transit Custom will arrive in 2024,” Ford Australia spokesman Matt Moran told Drive.
“When it comes to Mach-E, we have no news to share. And no news to share on the new SUV, either.”
A key part of Ford’s vehicle roll-out is a back end that will deliver 60 gigawatt-hours of annual battery capacity, as well as lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery packs – the same chemistry used by entry-level Teslas in Australia – for Mach-Es sold in North America next year and F-150 Lightning pick-ups in early 2024.
“Ford’s new electric vehicle line-up has generated huge enthusiasm and demand, and we now are putting the industrial system in place to scale quickly,” said Ford’s president and CEO, Jim Farley.
“Our Model e team has moved with speed, focus and creativity to secure the battery capacity and raw materials we need to deliver breakthrough EVs for millions of customers.”
Ford is also investing heavily in raw materials for its batteries and has already locked-in supplies of nickel to 2026 and beyond.
It is also focused on lithium, as well as graphite, with mining collaborators.
Ford said it is also working to localise the processing of key battery materials in North America.
Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years, working on newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for motoring led him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a World Car of the Year judge.