The automaker says the new batteries will significantly reduce costs, directly benefiting the consumer.
New battery packs will allow Ford to offer American consumers more affordable electric vehicles from next year, reports Automotive News.
These lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries will be used in entry-level variants of the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E that have less performance and reduced range claims. Currently, all Ford EVs use nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries, which rely on exported raw materials and are, therefore, more expensive.
The new battery setup is up to 40% cheaper than the NCM batteries, and these savings can be passed on to the consumer. Currently, high prices mean EVs are out of reach for many Americans, so more affordable models will undoubtedly broaden Ford's customer base.
This year, things were only made worse for the Blue Oval when Tesla slashed prices across the range. Ford responded by reducing Mustang Mach-E pricing, which is problematic as the electric crossover's profitability has been impacted in recent months.
There are many benefits to LFP batteries, including longer lifecycles and faster charging times. While this sounds great, the new chemistry may only suit the needs of some consumers. Unfortunately, LFP batteries can't match their NCM counterparts when it comes to range. It is diminished, but the battery should provide more than enough range for those who don't do long-distance driving.
"Not every EV needs to have a 500- or 600-mile range. There [are] a lot of applications where having 150 to 200 miles of range is more than adequate," explained Sam Abuelsamid of Guidehouse Insights.
The LFP batteries are also less energy dense, making them less suited to performance-minded EVs. That matters little to the average consumer, who requires a basic electric commuter. Similarly, these vehicles could represent enormous savings for fleet buyers that only make short daily trips.
Ford has said the new battery configuration won't confuse buyers. Customers will simply choose between a standard-range or extended-range option, although the company will educate customers on the differences so they can make a better choice for themselves.
"Dealer training is a core component of bringing any new product to market for both sales and service staff, and we will continue on that process," said Ford's Charles Poon.
The LFP batteries will be used in lower-rung models, while the faster and long-range variants will continue to use the NCM chemistry. Ford says the Mustang Mach-E will receive this new setup later this year, while the Lightning pickup truck will gain an LFP option next year. With any luck, we may see the return of a sub-$40,000 F-150 Lightning.
Last year, the electric pickup was subjected to two price hikes, making it far less affordable than it once was.
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