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DeluxeStang

Ford Discusses New Affordable EV Platform

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https://www.motor1.com/news/707659/ford-skunkworks-ev-platform/

 

A Couple of interesting points, does this mean Ford is considering bringing back the sedan form factor to complete with affordable Tesla models like model 3? 

It's also worth noting that this may indicate yet another shift in Ford's EV strategy, this decision to invest less in larger, more expensive EVs, and investing more heavily in smaller, affordable offerings. That's basically the opposite of Ford's strategy last year. 

 

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This doesn't surprise me.  Farley's already said the lack of an affordable EV keeps him up at night.  Plus that BYD scares him more than Tesla.  Not surprising they're developing a low-cost EV.  

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 “Farley noted this platform's main goal is low cost”.

 

If we take Farley’s comment literally, then yes, sedan-like; and also compact, aerodynamic, and lightweight are likely under consideration.

 

Article mentions Tesla Model 3 as possible cost target, but I would not disregard upcoming Tesla Model 2 Redwood as the main future competitor in North America.  If Ford is working on a new platform it needs to be competitive with next generation competitors, including those from China.

 

Farley said a while back that BEVs would initially be 2nd and 3rd vehicles in family, and for that, they don’t need ability to haul 7 people or a bunch of cargo.  I’ve expressed my opinion on need for smaller-size and higher-efficiency BEVs many times already, so glad to hear Farley may be moving in that direction.

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I'm curious to see how this turns out. I like that they had a skunkworks team do this as all of the big. priority projects that companies have usually have a lot of "cooks in the kitchen" (i.e. management and executives doing some micromanaging and perhaps cost cutting). This team may have been able to put together something that is a bit more pure from an engineering standpoint. 

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14 minutes ago, Dequindre said:

I'm curious to see how this turns out. I like that they had a skunkworks team do this as all of the big. priority projects that companies have usually have a lot of "cooks in the kitchen" (i.e. management and executives doing some micromanaging and perhaps cost cutting). This team may have been able to put together something that is a bit more pure from an engineering standpoint. 

I'm curious if these affordable EVs were the skunkwork EVs Ford was delivering with F1 teams. Ford's areo strategy would work really well on an affordable EV, creating a vehicle with a smaller, cheaper battery that still has decent range. 

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Low cost could also mean low cost within the market segment not necessarily lowest overall cost. So this could still be the 7 seater platform.

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1 hour ago, akirby said:

Low cost could also mean low cost within the market segment not necessarily lowest overall cost. So this could still be the 7 seater platform.

Valid point, affordability is relative to the segments you're competing in. But I believe he's referring to the CE1 platform in this instance, which is apparently being used for electric versions of the maverick and bronco sport amongst other things. 

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Uh oh, this sounds like a commodity vehicle!  We can’t have that!

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Interesting that after years of claiming an affordable Electric Vehicle platform was beyond its engineers reach,

Ford as if by magic, announces that a an external group set up like a start up has found the Eureka element.

 

Thinking laterally, I recall how the original electric Focus was developed by Magna with its own equipment

added to a Focus “glider”.  When shown to Ford,  they eagerly embraced it as their own design but sadly, 

 the vehicle never really captured buyers attention. People though  range anxiety due to small battery 

but equally, power was unremarkable…….Could Ford be dusting off that C2 electrification plan…..

 

Edited by jpd80

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In the grand scheme of things, EVs need to be more affordable and still provide a profit to the company making them. If anything this is just the future C or smaller based EVs that will eventually replace the C based products over the next 10 years or so. 

 

The Article is very vague and yeah everyone here is reading into it with their own biases.

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Farley Says Skunkworks Team Created Low-Cost EV Platform

https://fordauthority.com/2024/02/farley-says-skunkworks-team-created-low-cost-ev-platform/

 

FordAuthority.com_2024-02-07_Ford Skunkworks Presentation.jpg

 

Nearly three years ago, Ford announced that it was developing a trio of new, dedicated EV platforms set to underpin a wide variety of future all-electric models, which is a key component of the automaker’s plan to make those types of vehicles more affordable. Since then, the topic of affordability has become even more critical to the success of EVs in general, with a number of surveys showing that pricing remains a high barrier standing in the way of mass EV adoption. Ford CEO Jim Farley is well aware of this fact, and during the automaker’s Q4 earnings call with investors, revealed that the automaker has been working on a low-cost EV platform for some time.

 

“Now this is important because we made a bet in silence two years ago,” Farley said. “We developed a super-talented skunkworks team to create a low-cost EV platform. It was a small group, small team, some of the best EV engineers in the world, and it was separate from the Ford mothership. It was a start-up. And they’ve developed a flexible platform that will not only deploy to several types of vehicles but will be a large installed base for software and services that we’re now seeing at Pro.”

 

This new EV platform sounds like it’s different from the three that FoMoCo announced years ago, and is also seemingly unrelated to the company’s second-generation EV platform as well. As Ford Authority previously reported, those next-gen models will ride on dedicated platforms and be both fully updatable and simplified compared to the existing EVs currently in the automaker’s lineup. FoMoCo also previously hinted that it’s working on a platform specifically designed to underpin its future EVs in Europe as well.

 

Regardless, aside from public sentiment regarding the high cost barriers presented by the current crop of EVs, automakers like Ford are also well aware of the threat posed by affordable Chinese all-electric vehicles, too. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently stated that Chinese EV automakers will “demolish” their American counterparts when they wind up being sold in the U.S., and Farley also noted that he believes those same companies are Ford’s biggest rivals moving forward, too.

Edited by ice-capades
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13 hours ago, DeluxeStang said:

I'm curious if these affordable EVs were the skunkwork EVs Ford was delivering with F1 teams. Ford's areo strategy would work really well on an affordable EV, creating a vehicle with a smaller, cheaper battery that still has decent range. 


How aerodynamic Ford think the “affordable” vehicle needs to be is a crucial question because it affects the vehicle’s core capabilities and how it can be marketed to the masses.  Having aerodynamic design is not a necessity, but thus far manufacturers that have emphasized aerodynamics seem to be having greatest sales success.  It’s a complex problem requiring compromise IMO.

 

Vehicles like Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, both relatively affordable for a BEV, are not particularly aerodynamic but can function as city-oriented cars even though batteries are not high capacity.  City driving range are adequate but EPA Highway ratings (at higher average speeds) take a hit, and an even greater hit if driven (tested) at steady 75 MPH.  I seriously doubt many Bolt or Leaf owners would take long road trips in their EV, but as daily driver to work or shopping, range is probably sufficient.  Still, buyers are purchasing a vehicle that is mostly practical for local trips close to home.  IMO that lack of flexibility has to discourage a lot of buyers.

 

For improved long-distance highway travel, it seems BEVs are either aerodynamic like Tesla, Hyundai, and Lucid, or else have very high battery capacity (which obviously precludes them from being “affordable” to average buyers).  The Tesla Model 3 RWD starting at $39,000 is the cheapest BEV I’d even think about taking on a road trip, and only short ones requiring charging once or twice each way at most.

 

Given present technology and costs, making a BEV truly affordable to the masses essentially limits it to local city-oriented driving anyway, so IMO aerodynamics can be compromised somewhat; but only to a point because compact electric SUVs shaped like a brick that are getting well under 3 miles/kWh, when combined with small batteries, can be almost useless even for local trips.  If it was easy to combine practical and affordable in a BEV, it would have been done already.  Maybe Tesla Model 2 Redwood will redefine BEV affordability while still practical.  Or who knows; it may fail miserably due to size, range, aesthetics, etc. 

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15 minutes ago, Rick73 said:

For improved long-distance highway travel, it seems BEVs are either aerodynamic like Tesla, Hyundai, and Lucid, or else have very high battery capacity (which obviously precludes them from being “affordable” to average buyers).  The Tesla Model 3 RWD starting at $39,000 is the cheapest BEV I’d even think about taking on a road trip, and only short ones requiring charging once or twice each way at most.

 

It all depends on your definition of a "road trip" is. I had a friend once comment a 2-3 hour drive on the East Coast is a 5 hour drive in the midwest.

 

I used abetterrouteplanner.com to figure out this-my home to Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. I drove out there about 6 years ago and took about 9-10 hours to drive and I had to fill up 3-4 times with gas. Its about 600 miles one way.

 

Using a MME with a standard Range battery and RWD would require 5 charges at roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes of waiting. If I used a Tesla Model 3 RWD, I'd still have to make 5 charges but I'd be able to cut an hour off charge times because of the Tesla charging stations (the MME was using electrify America), so once the SuperChargers are opened up to Ford, that should shrink the charging time for it. 

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27 minutes ago, Rick73 said:

 

Given present technology and costs, making a BEV truly affordable to the masses essentially limits it to local city-oriented driving anyway, so IMO aerodynamics can be compromised somewhat; but only to a point because compact electric SUVs shaped like a brick that are getting well under 3 miles/kWh, when combined with small batteries, can be almost useless even for local trips.  If it was easy to combine practical and affordable in a BEV, it would have been done already.  Maybe Tesla Model 2 Redwood will redefine BEV affordability while still practical.  Or who knows; it may fail miserably due to size, range, aesthetics, etc. 


This is obviously using next gen batteries which will be lighter and cheaper, so the difference in aero won’t be nearly as important.

 

I also assume they’ve taken out cost via cheaper materials and manufacturing processes so it’s not just batteries.

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So as long as Ford is betting a few billion $$$ on small cheap EVs, why not hedge those risky bets with hybrid versions of the platform?

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36 minutes ago, GearheadGrrrl said:

So as long as Ford is betting a few billion $$$ on small cheap EVs, why not hedge those risky bets with hybrid versions of the platform?

According to Borg, they already have, this electric platform is called CE1, and will be used to offer things like a EV maverick. It's apparently quite similar to the c2 platform, which as we know, can accommodate hybrid powertrains. 

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38 minutes ago, GearheadGrrrl said:

So as long as Ford is betting a few billion $$$ on small cheap EVs, why not hedge those risky bets with hybrid versions of the platform?

because if you been paying attention, making a platform that straddles both ICE and EV compromises both. Why have to worry about putting a transmission tunnel or other things you don't need in an EV into a platform when it just adds weight and other compromises. 

 

The C ICE platform already exists and  can be improved as time goes on. 

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1 hour ago, akirby said:


This is obviously using next gen batteries which will be lighter and cheaper, so the difference in aero won’t be nearly as important.

 

I also assume they’ve taken out cost via cheaper materials and manufacturing processes so it’s not just batteries.


It has been reported that Tesla will use cheaper LFP batteries in new budget-oriented vehicle (Model 2 by whatever name Musk gives it) and speculation has been that it will be limited to 53 kWh capacity, though others have guessed that base vehicles may be lower than that.  Ford could do the same.

 

Anyway, the most efficient BEV in city driving according to EPA is Hyundai Ionic 6 at 153 MPGe, which is 4.5 miles per kWh.  It’s easy to imagine a smaller BEV like proposed Tesla 2 could achieve 5 miles/kWh, which would give ir a range of about 260 miles in city if it had 53 kWh battery.

 

However, at highway speeds (70~75 MPH ) efficiency would likely drop to 4 miles/kWh or less, which reduces range to 210 miles at most.  On an extended road trip if charging between 10 and 80 percent battery capacity, that reduces range to less than 150 miles between stops, or roughly every 2 hours.

 

This all assumes good weather, no headwind, that vehicle weight can be kept low, frontal area is small, and that aero Cd is roughly as low as Tesla Model 3.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that if some or all of these design goals are not met, real-world range will be even lower than 150 miles on the highway.  That’s why I believe affordability (low cost and small battery) essentially limits BEVs to urban areas for now.  When battery energy density doubles, then it will be a different game altogether. 

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15 hours ago, mackinaw said:

This doesn't surprise me.  Farley's already said the lack of an affordable EV keeps him up at night.  Plus that BYD scares him more than Tesla.  Not surprising they're developing a low-cost EV.  

Im sure Im not the only one , but I wouldnt buy a vehcile made inm China if it was the cheapest and best on the Market...pretty much avoid Chinese products at every corner I polssibly can...

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1 hour ago, silvrsvt said:

It all depends on your definition of a "road trip" is.


I only know that a family member with Tesla having 405 miles of range has never taken it on a long trip, preferring to use his ICE vehicle.  He loves the BEV and takes it on trips up to around 200+ miles from home, where he charges at mother’s house before returning to his home.  His previous Tesla had about 280 miles of range, and he says 405 is so much better, but still when driving 1,000+ miles they take ICEV.  For now he’s committed to keeping one ICE for extended road trips.  That’s a practical real-world view of BEV limitation (more like desirability because it can be done, you just wouldn’t want to if you had other choice).  My son feels the same way.  He loves his Tesla but has not taken it on trip farther than 200 miles.

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12 minutes ago, Rick73 said:


I only know that a family member with Tesla having 405 miles of range has never taken it on a long trip, preferring to use his ICE vehicle.  He loves the BEV and takes it on trips up to around 200+ miles from home, where he charges at mother’s house before returning to his home.  His previous Tesla had about 280 miles of range, and he says 405 is so much better, but still when driving 1,000+ miles they take ICEV.  For now he’s committed to keeping one ICE for extended road trips.  That’s a practical real-world view of BEV limitation (more like desirability because it can be done, you just wouldn’t want to if you had other choice).  My son feels the same way.  He loves his Tesla but has not taken it on trip farther than 200 miles.

 

Just to add a bit of levitiy here-driving 200 miles or so takes about 4 hours or so-so if you have a supercharger available, you could fast charge to 80-90% in 20 minutes or so-enough time to use the bathroom and grab fast food for lunch. 

 

Driving 1000 miles or more would be driving for 12 hours straight...personally have no interest in doing that. 

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1 hour ago, silvrsvt said:

because if you been paying attention, making a platform that straddles both ICE and EV compromises both. Why have to worry about putting a transmission tunnel or other things you don't need in an EV into a platform when it just adds weight and other compromises. 

 

The C ICE platform already exists and  can be improved as time goes on. 

Skateboard platforms are best when you want a long range BEV with no off road ability and can sell at least a couple hundred thousand a year. Ford currently has no BEV selling in those volumes, and is concentrating on "off road" capable vehicles and trucks for the foreseeable (from "glass house") future. Ford could fill half the pickup box on an F series with batteries and half the customers wouldn't notice, never mind between the frame rails and such. As for the "transmission tunnel", most of them in my fleet are transverse and could just as well host batteries and either or both IC or EV drivetrains. Looking at the underside of my VW MQB platform Golf 7 TDI, it's pretty obvious it's designed to be built as an BEV, Hybrid, and several flavors of IC. Given how slowly VW's dedicated "ID" BEVs are selling, it's no surprise VW is moving away from dedicated BEVs and hedging it's bets on flexible powered platforms- Within the last few months VW has announced both a Golf 8.5 with IC and hybrid power and similar looking Golf 9 BEV. VW makes many more vehicles than Ford and is concentrated on the auto market while Ford is concentrating on trucks. If VW is having a hard time justifying dedicated BEVs, how can Ford justify new dedicated BEV platforms?

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19 minutes ago, GearheadGrrrl said:

Skateboard platforms are best when you want a long range BEV with no off road ability and can sell at least a couple hundred thousand a year. Ford currently has no BEV selling in those volumes, and is concentrating on "off road" capable vehicles and trucks for the foreseeable (from "glass house") future. Ford could fill half the pickup box on an F series with batteries and half the customers wouldn't notice, never mind between the frame rails and such. As for the "transmission tunnel", most of them in my fleet are transverse and could just as well host batteries and either or both IC or EV drivetrains. Looking at the underside of my VW MQB platform Golf 7 TDI, it's pretty obvious it's designed to be built as an BEV, Hybrid, and several flavors of IC. Given how slowly VW's dedicated "ID" BEVs are selling, it's no surprise VW is moving away from dedicated BEVs and hedging it's bets on flexible powered platforms- Within the last few months VW has announced both a Golf 8.5 with IC and hybrid power and similar looking Golf 9 BEV. VW makes many more vehicles than Ford and is concentrated on the auto market while Ford is concentrating on trucks. If VW is having a hard time justifying dedicated BEVs, how can Ford justify new dedicated BEV platforms?

 

And your also completely wrong-the 8.5 Golf is just a refresh and the the Golf 9 is on its own platform, the SSP with no ICE support

 

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1 hour ago, silvrsvt said:

 

Just to add a bit of levitiy here-driving 200 miles or so takes about 4 hours or so-so if you have a supercharger available, you could fast charge to 80-90% in 20 minutes or so-enough time to use the bathroom and grab fast food for lunch. 

 

Driving 1000 miles or more would be driving for 12 hours straight...personally have no interest in doing that. 


Yeah, that’s also reality for some.  Leaving north Houston area my son’s RWD Model 3 could reach Dallas without charging by driving a little slower, but he prefers leaving home with battery at 100% SOC, driving fast, then charges for about 15 minutes at nearly 500 miles/hour, gaining about 120 miles of additional range while taking a quick bathroom and snack break.  If he had Model S with 405 miles of range, he wouldn’t need to charge until he got to Dallas (way cheaper there at work versus Supercharger) but would likely stop for a break anyway.  For his travels so far a Tesla with much longer range wouldn’t have added much convenience, just maybe some peace of mind — and I doubt much of that.

 

By the way, I didn’t mean driving 1,000 miles non-stop, though I have done that many times before, and hope to never do again.  I meant more like 1,000 miles or more from home.  That’s where 405 miles of range beats 270 easily, but it’s still not enough for owner to use Model S versus his other vehicle, an ICEV.

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2 hours ago, silvrsvt said:

because if you been paying attention, making a platform that straddles both ICE and EV compromises both. Why have to worry about putting a transmission tunnel or other things you don't need in an EV into a platform when it just adds weight and other compromises. 

 

The C ICE platform already exists and  can be improved as time goes on. 


Main reason I can think of is to reduce capital investment versus dedicated platform, and that applies most when sales volume are expected to be low.  Stellantis is doing just that in Europe with a few cars though I have no idea how profitable the entire plan has been.  Most if not all are FWD in ICE or HEV variants IIRC, so transmission tunnel not a big issue.  They install battery under floor but I don’t know details of how it’s done.  In some models I believe ground clearance and head room are affected, but not certain.  It’s probably not a bad idea if you know sales will be low, like eTransit.

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