As it invests $50 billion in electrification with an eye toward significantly ramping up production over the next few years, Ford is partnering with all sorts of suppliers and exploring different ways to achieve its goals in a supply-constrained world. One of those efforts involves installing lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its EVs for at least the rest of this decade – at which point the automaker hopes that solid-state batteries are viable. The Ford Mustang Mach-E will become the first model to receive LFP batteries this spring, followed by the Ford F-150 Lightning (but not the E-Transit), but it seems as if FoMoCo has a specific purpose in mind with this kind of battery.
“We will maintain NCM (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) for long range, but our lower trims like the XLT in the F-150 Lightning or the Select in the Mach-E we will introduce LFP. It will vary over time to see what the customer demand is,” Lisa Drake, Vice President, EV Industrialization, Ford Model e, said while speaking during the automaker’s Q&A session announcing the new Ford BlueOval Battery Park Michigan plant.
Judging from these comments, it seems as if LFP batteries are set to replace the Standard Range NCM batteries in the Mach-E and Lightning, and perhaps not the Extended Range batteries present in these vehicles at the moment. LFP batteries don’t use nickel or cobalt in their construction and are generally cheaper, safer, and can be charged to 100 percent without worrying about speeding up battery degradation, though they’re also not as energy dense as lithium-ion batteries like NCM units.
Ford will produce LFP batteries at the new BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, but that facility isn’t expected to begin operating until 2026 – which means that in the meantime, these units will likely come from China via CATL – the company that The Blue Oval is teaming up with in the creation of its new battery plant.