Ford has announced a pair of dedicated EV platforms at its online Capital Markets Day, alongside a pledge to ramp up its connectivity capabilities and EV investment drive.
The firm expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric vehicles by 2030 and, under the new Ford+ strategy, has boosted its EV development spending to more than $30 billion (£21.2bn) by 2025. This will fund the conception of a pair of new modular EV platforms, as well as an array of battery technologies that could reduce manufacturing costs, increase usability and minimise environmental impact.
Crucial to the firm’s renewed electrification push will be the introduction of a bespoke rear- and all-wheel-drive platform that, between now and 2030, will be used for a wide variety of vehicles in the active, commercial, pick-up, rugged SUV and full-sized SUV segments.
It will be joined by a larger architecture that will be used for vehicles in Ford’s crucial full-sized pick-up and commercial markets. However, Ford will continue to use Volkswagen’s MEB platform for mid-sized passenger cars in Europe from 2023, given its German strategic partner’s relative strength in that segment.
Together, the two platforms will drastically reduce manufacturing costs, increase scalability and boost profit margins per vehicle. Ford expects it will be able to share 80% of vehicle components across its entire portfolio.
Aside from the planned platforms, the headline technology news at Ford’s Capital Markets Day was the announcement of a new IonBoost battery programme, developed under the same ethos as the brand’s downsized Ecoboost petrol engines. Ionboost Pro batteries will be used for commercial vehicles, which tend to have different use cycles compared with passenger cars.
Beyond that, Ford expects it will be able to bring “long-range, low-cost” solid-state batteries to market by the end of this decade, following its expanded investment, earlier this year, in battery engineering firm Solid Power.
Ford has partnered with Korean company SK Innovation to form BlueOvalSK, a battery production outfit that will produce 60GWh worth of power units per year for Ford and Lincoln vehicles at two separate sites in North America. A new ‘Ion Park’ facility has been opened in the US as a dedicated centre for the manufacture, development and enhancement of the company’s battery technologies.
Following recent announcements regarding the connectivity capabilities of its new Mach-E and F-150 models, Ford has also outlined a bold plan to ensure its vehicles are ‘always on’ – connected to the cloud, capable of receiving comprehensive over-the-air updates and offering enhanced entertainment and safety functions – all while reducing development costs and boosting revenue.
It marks the company’s transition away from a conventional retail business and comes in line with a prediction that it will have sold 33 million over-the-air-enabled Ford and Lincoln models by 2028.