How Ford Could End Up Being America’s Affordable EV King

And it could be thanks to BYD.

Ford's current EV lineup

American customers are in dire need of more affordable EVs and Ford could be the one to deliver just that.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Ford’s CEO Jim Farley detailed more of the automaker’s strategy to shift towards low-cost EVs. We’ve previously heard some snippets about Ford’s plans to make more entry-level EVs, but we’re pleasantly surprised that the American automaker wants to compete with the tempting alternatives from Chinese companies like BYD.

BYD’s Seagull sets the bar for affordable EVs with a price tag under $10,000.


The competition to deliver an affordable EV in the U.S. has been heating up, with companies like Chevy bringing back the Bolt next year and Volkswagen working on its ID.2. No doubt the emphasis on affordability is spurred by competition overseas, and Ford has already taken some real steps towards filling this void of cheap EVs in America.

Taking a Page Out of BYD’s Book

According to Farley’s comments to Yahoo Finance, Ford is working on affordable EVs that will “be fully competitive with the best in the business, which we think are the Chinese.” It’s hard to argue with that since BYD has made a name for itself with its incredibly low-priced EVs like its Seagull that’s less than $10,000. Even an EV newcomer like Xiaomi already has a far more affordable alternative to Tesla’s Model S.

Farley noted that China invested in battery technology early, with companies like CATL leading the industry. However, Ford wants to follow a similar strategy since Farley revealed that the automaker is also working with CATL, the longtime supplier of Tesla batteries which recently revealed a lithium iron phosphate design that has a range of 1,000 kilometers, or around 621 miles.

Ford could save big on manufacturing costs thanks to a potential switch towards lithium iron phosphate batteries, instead of the current nickel cobalt manganese chemistry that’s more expensive and heavier. Farley revealed that the existing F-150 Lightning’s battery could cost anywhere between $30,000 to $40,000. A cheap battery isn’t the only ingredient in BYD’s secret recipe for wildly affordable EVs, but Ford has identified this as a crucial component.

The EV battery could be one of the more expensive parts of the F-150 Lightning.


As Affordable as BYD?

Even though other automakers are working on their affordable offerings, Ford may be ahead thanks to its secret skunkworks team which was created two years ago and is tasked with creating a smaller platform for its future EVs. Very little has been revealed about this upcoming platform, but Farley told Yahoo Finance that we should expect something unlike its current EVs.

“They are engineering a completely different approach — a different product at a different cost with a much smaller battery and different chemistry — that we’re convinced it will be not only profitable but affordable for most Americans,” Farley said of Ford’s skunkworks team.

Farley explained that the team is filled with former Apple and Tesla employees who are bringing a fresh perspective to making EVs that strays from the traditional legacy automaker way of thinking. Considering this is a platform, we could see several affordable EVs come out of it, including a rumored compact SUV and a small pickup truck, which could give Ford a considerable headstart.

We haven’t seen anything tangible about Ford’s next EVs based on its smaller platform, but all of this adds up to something that could be a real game changer for Americans seeking affordable EVs. Especially with Farley’s latest remarks, we could see Ford position itself as the BYD of America.

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