Ford introduced on Monday that it’s planning the set up of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries into its Mustang Mach-E beginning later in calendar 12 months 2023 and its F-150 Lightning in calendar 12 months 2024.
The shift will probably deliver decrease EV costs, though that may “rely on what occurs with the market,” based on Ford Mannequin E chief buyer officer Marin Gjaja.
The manager added: “The entire intent right here is to make these extra inexpensive and accessible.”
Mach-E Commonplace Vary will get LFP cells beginning later this 12 months, F-150 Commonplace Vary early subsequent 12 months—with the shift probably not occurring abruptly however a trim stage at a time. Prolonged Vary and something performance-oriented will stick with the present nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) chemistry that’s utilized in these fashions immediately.
From 2026, LFP cells for Ford merchandise will come from a Michigan battery plant established with expertise from China’s CATL. Within the meantime, cells for these merchandise are more likely to come from considered one of CATL’s crops in China.
Ford evaluating NCM and LFP battery varieties
Ford LFP battery advantages
Causes behind the shift to LFP
In a presentation Monday, Ford outlined a number of the causes behind the shift. LFP batteries have distinctive sturdiness, they usually can assist strengthen the provision chain whereas utilizing fewer high-demand, high-cost supplies and mineral assets. Additional, they are often charged from 0% to 100% day by day—one thing that’s not really useful for the NCM chemistries which can be presently used within the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E, and E-Transit if full vary isn’t wanted.
Ford additionally famous that due to these traits, LFP batteries are additionally a most well-liked alternative for bidirectional charging, as is already provided with an F-150 Lightning dwelling energy backup system.
Alternatively, LFP cells are sometimes sluggish and slower to fast-charge on the coldest ambient temperatures. They’re additionally not the most effective decide for top efficiency or the longest vary, partly as a result of they pack extra weight for a similar vitality; however as Ford emphasised within the technique beneath, it solely sees LFP batteries as primarily satisfying the fleet and entry-level portion of the market.
Ford multi-chemistry strategy for EV batteries
A unique type of lithium-ion
As a subset of lithium-ion battery tech, LFP cells use lithium iron phosphate because the cathode and graphite because the electrode. These cells are far much less liable to the thermal runaway that may trigger fires or degradation from overheating, however a variety of sources now counsel they final considerably longer.
LFP cells aren’t depending on nickel and cobalt, two supplies which can be costly, supply-constrained, and an enormous carry for the provision chain.
Roughly one-fifth of the world’s electrical autos are powered by LFP cells. The expertise, led by China’s BYD a decade in the past, has superior in its newest type within the BYD Blade battery, whereas CATL can be a number one producer.
Ford evaluating battery type components, in shift to LFP
Ford-CATL LFP prismatic cells for Mach-E, F-150 Lightning
Change in type issue, too
The battery chemistry received’t be the one factor that adjustments in autos that make the shift to LFP, Ford executives famous. The battery type issue will probably be totally completely different, too. These fashions will use prismatic cells versus the pouch cells utilized in present fashions; they usually’ll be bigger. Ford famous, at greater than double the capability in ampere-hours.
Which means much less bussing between the cells themselves, which helps mitigate a number of the vitality losses from these much less energy-dense cells, Ford defined.
Ford didn’t clarify additional what this implies for the long run in precise pack structure—or to what stage it probably means skipping modules or packs sooner or later. CATL, for example, has what it phrases a “disruptive” water-cooling design that allows a cell-to-pack structure with spectacular vitality densities to rival that of these costlier cell varieties.
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning
Knowledgeable by knowledge and bottom-line price
The corporate did underscore that the shift to LFP cells was a part of a call to diversify its battery choices to raised match product utilization and buyer wants.
Ford’s related automobile knowledge workforce has been learning aggregated, anonymized automobile knowledge to grasp how its EVs are used. And from that, it discovered the common Mustang Mach-E driver sometimes goes simply 32 miles a day, with a visit distance averaging simply 5 miles at a time. Additional, 95% of Mach-E clients begin their journeys at ambient temperatures above freezing.
It says that it doesn’t have a full 12 months of knowledge on F-150 Lightning use but, but it surely’s already seen that 89% of shoppers begin their journeys above freezing.
2022 Ford E-Transit
Ford didn’t verify that LFP batteries are additionally headed into its E-Transit supply vans quickly, however as its personal chart above confirmed, fleet autos appear to fulfill the profile of fashions which can be charged to 100% day by day.