Ford low-cost EV platform to compete with Tesla being designed by “skunkworks team:” CEO

Credit: Ford

In a recent earnings call, Ford CEO Jim Farley revealed that over the past two years, a specialized EV team from the automaker has been developing a new, modular electric vehicle platform focused on cost reduction. The new platform was developed by a dedicated “skunkworks” team, which operates independently from Ford’s main business. 

The Ford CEO allocated a notable portion of his discussion in the Q4 2023 earnings call to the company’s electric car business. As noted by Farley, there has been a seismic change in the EV sector during the latter half of 2023, and it was driven in part by a combination of EV manufacturers cutting their price by 20% and lots of capital and capacity being poured into the two-row crossover segment. 

Amidst this change, Ford will be stepping up with its Gen 2 electric vehicles. Unlike its current lineup of EVs like the Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 Lightning, and the E-Transit all-electric van, the company’s upcoming EVs are designed to be profitable in the first 12 months of their launch. Farley described the project as follows. 

“We’re going to spend less capital on larger EVs. And as we’ve always said, we’ll have a very small number of those. We’re going to focus those large EVs on geographies and product segments where we have a dominant advantage like trucks and vans. And those products will have breakthrough efficiency compared to our Gen 1 products, and they’re going to be packed with innovations that customers are going to be excited to pay for.

“We’re also adjusting our capital switching more focused on to smaller EV products. Now, this is important because we made a bet in silence two years ago. We developed a super-talented skunkworks team to create a low-cost EV platform. It was a small group, small team, some of the best EV engineers in the world, and it was separate from the Ford mothership. It was a startup. And they’ve developed a flexible platform that will not only deploy to several types of vehicles but will be a large installed base for software and services that we’re now seeing at Pro,” Farley said. 

The Ford CEO added that its EV teams are ruthlessly pursuing cost and efficiency, which would help the automaker battle the upcoming competition from Tesla’s upcoming next-generation vehicle, which is also expected to be designed with production costs and profitability in mind. Ford’s Gen 2 EVs could also be strong competition for Chinese OEMs, which are attempting to break into the western automotive market. 

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Ford low-cost EV platform to compete with Tesla being designed by “skunkworks team:” CEO
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