Ford’s $25,000 EV Platform Will Underpin Multiple Models: Report

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Ford may be making big promises when it comes to EVs, but it’s time to face the music: its EV lineup is barren, and not just here in the US. It has made do with just two cars, the Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning. Dont’ fret, more EVs are on the way soon.

During today’s Bank of America Securities Automotive Summit, CFO John Lawler let it slip that its forthcoming EV platform would not only be spacious but likely have multiple variants. Lawler said that an Escape-sized EV would have as much room as an Explorer.

Of course, there were no concrete admissions that Ford is working on an EV Escape, but it does track with Ford’s EV plans. Just this week, Ford of Europe launched the Explorer EV, a Volkswagen MEB platform-based EV meant for European markets. That car isn’t meant for the US, and in all honesty, it’s a stopgap model meant to tide over European demand for an EV until Ford has its own EV platform up and running. It’s a similar approach to what Honda is doing with the Prologue.

The rest of the call was remarkably frank. Ford still sees EVs taking over, but right now, it’s really hard to make it work. Selling F-150 Lightnings does give the brand carbon credits to continue manufacturing gas-powered trucks, but Lawler wants the Model E arm of Ford’s car lineup to stand on its own, not as a foil to enable the brand to make gas trucks. As of right now, Ford’s ICE cars (Ford Blue) and commercial operations (Ford Pro) are performing well, but its EV division (Model E) is horribly unprofitable.

The Model E program is projected to lose up to $5.5 billion this year. Lawler says that the industrywide demand for EVs is softer than anyone expected, and thus Ford has to accurately match EV demand with EV supply. For now, that means curtailing production goals for cars like the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning and focusing on more affordable vehicles.

“We’re moving into the early majority. And early majority is much less forgiving,” said Lawler. “And one of the things we’re finding and we realized this, and I think this was the benefit of being a first mover in the market, is that we don’t believe the game is going to be really fought in one with larger vehicles,” he continued. Lawler thinks that EV owners are now price sensitive, and thus it’ll need to get its affordable EV platform on the road ASAP.

One of the key points of Ford’s new platform is reportedly its flexibility. Lawler said the new platform will be able to have “several different top hats,” meaning it will have different models with styling. “The great thing about EVs is when you look at the design footprint, [you could have the] exterior size of an Escape, [with the] the interior size of an Explorer, because you don’t have the package limitations of the front, right? [So] there’s a lot of degrees of freedom,” said Lawler. According to Lawler, the goal of Ford’s EV platform is to be as many things to as many consumers as possible. A smaller EV means less battery, which means a more affordable car. A flexible platform means it will be suitable to underpin multiple models that can cater to as many buyers as possible. 

Still, Lawler stopped short of confirming exactly what form its first vehicle on the new platform would take, or when exactly it would be on roads. “It could be an SUV, it could be a truck, it could be a van. It could be a lot of different things,” said Lawler. One thing is for sure, Ford’s affordable EVs will take multiple, reasonably priced forms.

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