Ford has changed its tone regarding the production of electric vehicle batteries, with CEO Jim Farley recently noting that large-scale battery production must be brought to the United States. The CEO’s statements seem to stand quite opposite that of his predecessor, who remarked that dedicated battery plants like Tesla Gigafactory Nevada provide no advantages in the EV sector.
Back in August 2020, then-Ford CEO Jim Hackett stated that the veteran automaker would not be investing in EV battery production. This was despite Ford’s numerous electric vehicle programs such as the Mustang Mach-E, the Ford F-150 Electric, and the Transit EV. During the company’s earnings call, Ford’s executives maintained that they’re content to source batteries from suppliers instead of producing their own.
“The supply chain has ramped up since Elon (Musk) built his Gigafactory, and so there’s plenty there that does not warrant us to migrate our capital into owning our own factory. There’s no advantage in the ownership in terms of cost or sourcing,” Hackett said.
Ford seems to be in a much different place today. Amidst the market’s widespread, ongoing chip shortages, Ford and its peers are facing delays. This, according to now-CEO Jim Farley, is something that automakers must not experience with regards to electric vehicle batteries. Highlighting his point, Farley remarked that Ford would be bringing up the topic to the United States government.
“We need to bring large-scale battery production to the US, and we’ll be talking to the government about that. We can’t go through what we’re doing with chips right now with Taiwan. It’s just too important,” Farley said.
This is a notable departure from the previous Ford CEO’s stance. It does, however, bode well for Ford’s electric vehicle plans, as it indicates that the company’s CEO is seeing the big picture when it comes to the EV transition. Facilities like Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada, after all, required a lot of guts and foresight, as they were launched at a time when the demand for EVs was yet to be proven.
With demand for electric cars now proven by vehicles like the Model 3, it seems safe for companies like Ford to get onboard the battery production train. Ultimately, Ford would benefit from its own battery production efforts, especially considering that one of its suppliers for the F-150 Electric’s batteries, SK Innovation, recently received a 10-year import ban due to a lawsuit from rival LG Chem.
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