Ford plans an affordable EV pickup and SUV, starting around $25,000

Amid a flood of new competition, Ford is shifting its plans to build more affordable electric vehicles. Ford is developing a new, low-cost EV platform to power a small electric pickup and SUV, with starting prices around $25,000. However, due to the pivot, plans for its three-row electric SUV have been put on the back burner.

Switch to cheap EVs

Although cheap Chinese passenger EVs such as BYD are not sold in the US, they are having a major impact on domestic automakers.

Ford CEO Jim Farley reiterated his concerns about low-cost foreign rivals at a Wolfe Research conference last month. Farley explained that if you can’t compete with Chinese automakers, “20% to 30% of your sales are at risk.”

“As the CEO of a company that has struggled to compete with the Japanese and the South Koreans, we need to solve this problem,” Farley said.

Ford learned “pretty quickly to bet on a smaller EV platform.” The US automaker’s leader admitted that larger electric vehicles, such as the F-150 Lightning, are expensive to build.

Farley said anything “bigger than the Escape” can be more functional or a work vehicle. Meanwhile, smaller electric cars are different. An EV the size of an Escape or smaller “totally works,” Ford’s leader explained.

Ford Affordable EV Pickup
2024 Ford F-150 Flash (Source: Ford)

Not only does it work, but “the operating costs are significantly lower than a (Toyota) Corolla or a (Honda) Civic or even a (Ford) Maverick.”

Ford plans smaller, affordable EV pickups and SUVs

During an investor call last month, Farley revealed that the company had been “secretly” working on a low-cost EV platform.

Ford has assembled a “super-talented skunk factory team” to create it with “some of the best EV engineers in the world.” The team is led by Alan Clarke, who led the engineering of Tesla’s best-selling Model Y.

Ford affordable electric SUV
Ford electric Explorer SUV for Europe (Source: Ford)

According to Bloomberg Business Weekthe team (less than 100 people) is developing a new affordable EV platform to power a new small, more affordable electric pickup and SUV from Ford.

Sources familiar with the matter say the first model will hit the market in 2026, with starting prices around $25,000. It will compete with the cheap EV that Tesla is working on.

The platform will first feature LFP batteries, which are approximately 30% cheaper than traditional lithium-ion batteries. However, it is also exploring other EV battery technologies.

Ford-Mustang-Mach-E
Ford Mustang Mach-E (Source: Ford)

Amid the shift, Ford is delaying plans for a larger electric car with three rows of seats, according to the sources.

Ford’s move comes as several automakers want to acquire cheap electric vehicles from China. After surpassing Tesla in the last three months of 2023 to become the largest global EV manufacturer, BYD is stiffening the competition this year.

The Chinese automaker declared a “liberation struggle” for gas-powered vehicles after launching a range of low-cost electric vehicles.

BYD-cheapest EV-South America
BYD Seagull (Source: BYD)

The cheapest, the new Seagull, starts at around $9,700 in China. Farley called BYD’s Seagull “pretty damn good,” as he warned other automakers.

While BYD currently has no plans to sell electric passenger cars in the US, it is just getting started in other markets, such as Europe. BYD’s first cargo carrier, carrying 3,000 vehicles, landed in Germany last month as it expands abroad.

Ford isn’t the only one watching. Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, told reporters last month: “The Chinese offensive is possibly the biggest risk that companies like Tesla and us currently face.”

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