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Ford CEO doesn’t expect electric vehicle battery costs to drop soon


Ford CEO Jim Farley poses with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck in Dearborn, Michigan, May 19, 2021.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

WAYNE, Mich. – Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley doesn’t expect the prices of raw materials for the corporate’s electric vehicles to ease within the near future, marking the most recent signal that automakers will proceed mountaineering prices for his or her latest EVs.

“I do not think there’s going to be much relief on lithium, cobalt and nickel anytime soon,” Farley told reporters Wednesday during an event on the automaker’s Michigan Assembly Plant.

Farley’s comments come a day after the Detroit automaker announced it could be raising the starting prices for its electric F-150 pickup resulting from “significant material cost increases.” The increases range from $6,000 to $8,500, depending on the model. Ford is not alone: Rival Tesla increased its U.S. prices in June.

Prices of all lithium, cobalt and nickel have risen sharply over the past yr as demand from battery makers has outpaced miners’ efforts to extend supply.

Farley said the fast-rising costs of the minerals utilized in its current lithium-ion batteries are why Ford plans to supply lower-cost lithium iron phosphate, or LFP, batteries in vehicles akin to the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E crossover.

“I do not think we should always be confident in every other outcomes, than a rise in prices,” he said. That is why we expect LFP technology is critical … We need to make these reasonably priced.”

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Last month, Ford said it’s going to begin offering LFP batteries from Chinese battery giant CATL that do not use nickel or cobalt as a lower-cost option within the Mustang Mach-E next yr. The corporate plans to expand the choice to the F-150 Lightning in 2024.

Ford also has invested in Colorado-based battery startup Solid Power, considered one of several firms working to develop solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. Solid-state batteries have the potential to supply EV owners more range, shorter recharging times, and a lower risk of fires than today’s batteries.

Solid Power said Tuesday that it’s on course to deliver prototype batteries to Ford and BMW, also an investor, by the top of the yr. But vehicles using the batteries are still at the least a couple of years away.

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