The broad pivot toward fully electric vehicles got an industry-wide reality check this year when Tesla initiated a price war that is still being fought months after it began. While Ford EV sales were up 15 percent in the third quarter of 2023, that figure was far lower than what the company expected. Globally, the automaker overestimated customer interest in its current and future EVs, and as a result, decided to delay a number of projects and vehicles as macroeconomic conditions have not warranted unrestrained investments in battery electric related endeavors. Here’s our guide to every EV plant or vehicle either canceled or pared down this year.
Ford Explorer EV And Upcoming Sibling EV
It wasn’t until August when the first Ford EV related delay or cancellation surfaced, with the company announcing that the Ford Explorer EV launch wouldn’t take place until mid-2024. That updated timeline represented the second time the Explorer experience a delay, as the company originally intended for some examples to be on sale by the end of this year. In September, the head of the company’s EV division in Europe revealed that the setback is related to VW’s next-generation battery tech, as the Explorer is heavily based on the German automaker’s MEB EV architecture.
Additionally, its sibling has also been delayed. The upcoming vehicle was supposed to have debuted by 2024 but will instead be revealed next year. At this point, it is unclear if production will begin next year or in 2025. It is also unclear if the EV will be called the Capri or something else.
Ford BlueOval SK Battery Park
Almost two years to the date that the company originally revealed its plans to build a sprawling Ford EV complex in Tennessee and another in Kentucky, the company modified its ambitions for the Kentucky campus. Originally, plans called for two EV battery plants, but Ford altered the scope of the project and will now fully build out one and simply construct the other, only activating it at an unspecified date. The plant is still expected to come online in 2025 to supply batteries to the second generation Ford F-150 Lightning.
Ford BlueOval SK Battery Park Michigan
Perhaps the most controversial Ford EV project yet, the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan complex also got pared down this year. New plans call for the site to employ 1,700 people that will produce approximately 20 GWh worth of batteries annually, down from 2,500 and 35 GWh, respectively. The plant is still expected to come online in 2026 and will utilize tech licensed from Chinese battery manufacturer CATL.
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning
Like most other announcements made this year, the 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning production news is about an alteration, not a cancellation. That said, the company is planning to build far fewer examples of the all-electric pickup than before, from 3,200 to 1,600, as demand has evaporated. As previously mentioned, this setback has not altered the timetable for the second generation Lightning, which is still expected to arrive in 2025.
Ford EV Joint Venture Battery Plant In Turkey
Finally, we arrive at the only cancelled Ford EV project of 2023: the joint venture between The Blue Oval, LG, and Koc Holding, Ford’s partner in Turkey. The plant was originally intended to provide batteries for the Ford E-Transit and Ford E-Transit Custom, but was scrapped, as all the stakeholders felt demand would not have justified such a large facility. It’s important to note that the Ford E-Transit and Ford E-Transit Custom are not being cancelled along with the aborted plant. Instead, LG will supply Ford with batteries from one of its preexisting battery plants.