Ford ev battery problems
Ford announced Monday that it plans to install lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its Mustang Mach-E starting later in calendar year 2023 and its F-150 Lightning in calendar year 2024.
The shift will potentially lower EV prices, although that will ”depend on what happens with the market,” according to Ford Model E chief customer officer Marin Gjaja Ford ev battery problems.
The manager added: ”The whole intention here is to make these more affordable and accessible.”
Mach-E Standard Range EVs will get LFP cells starting later this year; F-150 Standard Range trucks will get them early next year — with the shift possibly one trim level at a time. Extended range vehicles and anything performance oriented will follow the existing Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) chemistry used in these models today.
Ford ev battery problems
From 2026, LFP cells for Ford products will come from a battery factory in Michigan established with technology from China’s CATL. Meanwhile, the cells for these products likely come from one of CATL’s factories in China Ford ev battery problems.
Ford compares NCM and LFP battery types
Ford LFP battery benefits
Reasons behind the switch to LFP Ford ev battery problems
In a presentation on Monday, Ford outlined some of the reasons behind the shift. LFP batteries have exceptional durability and can help strengthen the supply chain while using less of high-demand, high-cost materials and mineral resources. Additionally, they can be charged from 0% to 100% daily – something not recommended for the NCM chemistries currently used in the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit unless the full range is needed.
Ford also noted that because of these characteristics, LFP batteries are also a preferred choice for bidirectional charging, which is already offered with an F-150 Lightning home backup system Ford ev battery problems.
On the other hand, LFP cells are typically sluggish and slower to fast charge at the coldest ambient temperatures. They’re also not the best choice for high performance or the longest range, in part because they pack more weight for the same energy; as Ford emphasized in the strategy below, only LFP batteries are seen as primarily satisfactory for the fleet and entry-level market.
Ford’s multi-chemistry strategy for electric vehicle batteries
Another kind of lithium ion
As a subset of lithium-ion battery technology, LFP cells use lithium iron phosphate as the cathode and graphite as the electrode. These cells are much less prone to the thermal runaway that can cause fires or breakdown from overheating; a number of sources now also indicate that they last significantly longer.
LFP cells do not rely on nickel and cobalt, two materials that are expensive, in limited supply, and a major burden on the supply chain.
About one fifth of the world’s electric vehicles are powered by LFP cells. The technology, pioneered by China’s BYD a decade ago, has advanced in its latest form in the BYD Blade battery, while CATL is also a leading manufacturer.
Ford Compares Battery Form Factors, Moves to LFP
Ford-CATL LFP prismatic cells for Mach-E, F-150 Lightning
Change in form factor too
Battery chemistry won’t be the only thing changing in vehicles making the transition to LFP, Ford executives noted. The battery form factor will also be completely different. These models will use prismatic cells compared to the pouch cells used in current models; they will also be larger, Ford noted, with more than double the amp-hour capacity.
That means less bussing between the cells themselves, which helps mitigate some of the energy losses from these less energy-dense cells, Ford explained.
Ford did not explain further what this means for the future in actual package layout – or to what level it potentially means skipping modules or packages in the future. CATL, for example, has what it calls a ”disruptive” water-cooling design that enables a cell-to-pack layout with impressive energy densities that can rival the more expensive cell types.
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning
Informed by data and total cost
The company emphasized that the move to LFP cells was part of a decision to diversify its battery offerings to better suit product usage and customer needs.
Ford’s Connected Vehicle Data team has been studying aggregated, anonymized vehicle data to understand how its electric cars are being used. And from that, it found that the average Mustang Mach-E driver typically walks just 32 miles per day, with a trip distance averaging just five miles at a time. Furthermore, 95% of Mach-E customers begin their trips in ambient temperatures above freezing.
It says it doesn’t have a full year of data on F-150 Lightning usage yet, but it’s already seen 89% of customers start their trips above freezing.
2022 Ford E-Transit
Ford didn’t confirm that LFP batteries are also making their way into its E-Transit trucks anytime soon, but as its own chart above showed, the fleet appears to meet the profile of models that are charged to 100% daily Ford ev battery problems.