DETROIT — Ford's broad investment in electrification includes money for a slew of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles, but nothing in one area where its biggest rivals are spending billions: battery production.
Even with the Mustang Mach-E coming this year and the F-150 EV and Transit EV expected in 2022, Ford executives say they are content to source batteries from suppliers instead of making their own.
It's the latest fork in the road for automakers as they steer toward an electric future.
Tesla poured $5 billion into the Nevada Gigafactory that churns out lithium ion batteries for its entire lineup in partnership with Panasonic. General Motors this year started construction on an Ohio plant to make its proprietary Ultium battery cells through a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem. Volkswagen and Daimler also are investing in battery facilities.
Ford executives insist their plan allows for more flexibility if EV demand falters or a chemistry breakthrough makes today's battery technology obsolete. They also note that suppliers have boosted capacity to meet the wave of EVs arriving in coming years.
"The supply chain has ramped up since Elon [Musk] built his Gigafactory, and so there's plenty there that does not warrant us to migrate our capital into owning our own factory," outgoing Ford CEO Jim Hackett said on the company's second-quarter earnings call. "There's no advantage in the ownership in terms of cost or sourcing."