Ford / Rudolph Libbe Group
Ford is expanding its Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, to produce a new electric commercial vehicle for Ford Pro customers “beginning mid-decade.”

Ford Building Toward Hybrids, Lower-Cost EVs

April 5, 2024
The No.2 U.S. automaker is delaying delivery of some EVs and emphasizing more gas-powered hybrid vehicles, while developing a new platform of more affordable electric vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. is slowing its progress toward full electrification and will incorporate more plug-in hybrid and lower-cost EV models to its vehicle portfolio, according to a summary that followed its Q1 earnings report.

Sales of all-electric vehicles increased just 2.7% in the U.S. during Q1, about half the rate of all vehicle sales. Ford, however, noted that car buyers show an “increasing preference for hybrid trucks and SUVs,” including its own Ford Maverick hybrid truck that posted a 77% annual increase in sales during the quarter, or 19,660 total units.

Ford’s overall hybrid sales rose 42% in Q1 on sales of 38,421 vehicles. The automaker expects sales of hybrid vehicles to continue increasing, and it intends to offer hybrid alternatives for all of its gas-powered (Ford Blue) models in North America by 2030.

Also, Ford said its “skunkworks team” is working to develop “developing a smaller, low-cost, profitable, flexible EV platform capable of underpinning multiple vehicles at high volumes”.

Alternatively, a new all-electric pickup truck that had been expected to begin shipping in 2025 will not appear until 2026. That detail followed the recent news that assembly of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup has been cut from three shifts to one.

To that end, Ford offered updates on its plant update and development projects in line with the new emphasis on hybrid vehicles. It said equipment installation has started at the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant, known as BlueOval City, toward the 2026 start of operations for the new electric pickups.

And, expansion is progressing at the Avon Lake, Ohio Assembly Plant for production of a new, Ford Pro electric commercial vehicle, to be available “mid-decade,” Ford stated.

However, progress is slower for Ford’s transformation of the Oakville, Ont., assembly plant where the plan is to produce a new electric SUV. Ford stated the launch of that line has been postponed from 2025 to 2027 to “allow for the consumer market for three-row EVs to further develop and enable Ford to take advantage of emerging battery technology”.

Ford also noted that construction is progressing for the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan and BlueOval SK joint-venture battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

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