A senior Ford executive has admitted the brand has learned from Tesla’s approach to selling electric vehicles.
Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president for electric vehicle industrialization, said the brand would follow Tesla’s lead by focusing on a small number of high-selling models, rather than trying to build a full stable of electric vehicles.
“Scale matters in the EV game… We’ve learned a lot from Tesla: produce low complexity units and fully maximize an assembly facility and launch these products one after another, one after another, with one hand -really lean workforce is what you have to do to compete in this hyper-competitive space,” she said.
His comments were echoed by Ford chief financial officer John Lawler.
“I mean, right now what we have to do is respect the fact that there is a profitable electric vehicle company in the world that is producing vehicles at scale. Just one and they have incredible margins “, did he declare.
He said Ford was developing “an electric vehicle startup buried inside Ford.”
To that end, the brand has hired two former senior Tesla executives. Doug Field, who was previously at Tesla, joined Apple last year, while the company poached Tesla engineering director Alan Clarke earlier this year.
Tesla has focused on building large volumes of just two models, the Model Y SUV and Sedan Model 3 and Ford plans to expand its electric vehicle lineup by focusing on just four models: the F150 Lightning, the Mustang Mach-E, the passage and a yet-to-be-discovered mid-size SUV for the European market that will be developed in cooperation with Volkswagen.
The brand, which sold just 60,000 EVs last year, plans to grow to 600,000 EVs by the end of next year and 2 million by 2026. By 2030, it plans to sell as many electric vehicles as gasoline cars.
Drake said the goal was achievable.
“Nobody has a crystal ball, but one thing I’ll tell you is that we’ve always underestimated it on electric vehicles,” she said.
“We now realize that it’s better to have the capacity installed there than not. If you’re wrong, you want to guess on the right side,” she said.
Drake said she hasn’t seen a “huge proliferation” of different models being built from the same platform.
“You’ll see manufacturing facilities that are designed very differently than they are today,” she said.
She said Ford suppliers had bought into its ambitious growth plans, so shortages of components and raw materials were unlikely to affect the rollout of electric vehicles as they have over the past two years. years.
“It’s not something that’s on paper. It is actively worked. We have battery capacity being researched. And that will take us to 2 million units by 2026,” she said.
She said there were signs that the semiconductor shortage plaguing the auto industry was starting to ease and could ease further if the economic downturn leads to lower demand for consumer electronics. , which compete with the automotive industry for semiconductor supplies.
“You know, I think we see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
The company recently raised the price of its Mach-E and F150 Lightning due to rising commodity prices, but Drake said recent investments in commodity mining should see prices plateau.
To sustain its plans, Ford sourced raw materials from around the world, including Australia where BHP supplied nickel and Liontown supplied lithium.