Lawler confirms 'skunkworks' as Ford's next EV line-up

Ford has dropped previous hints that EV pipeline is being re-ordered

Lawler confirms 'skunkworks' as Ford's next EV line-up
Ford wants to move away from larger EVs to recoup Model E losses

Ford CFO John Lawler has given the clearest indication yet that the OEM is prioritising bringing models developed by its so-called 'skunkworks' small EV project to market ahead of previously planned larger models which were originally set for launch first.

In late March Lawler called the upcoming skunkworks vehicle "generation 2A", seemingly indicating that the project was being brought forward relative to a larger product line-up initially labelled 'second generation' by the company, which included a large e-pickup, as well as three-row SUV.

When the skunkworks project was revealed, CEO Jim Farley initially said it was a longer term product plan.

However, Lawler appeared to confirm the reordering of the vehicles in a speech to a Deutsche Bank automotive industry conference this week. The CFO says that Ford is "very focused on Model E on cost reductions in the near term", and that this will involve "scaling them, both the Skunkworks platform that we will have, which will be in the smaller, more affordable end plus then (EV inFocus' bold) the next pickup truck and the three row SUV."

Ford management has indicated multiple times in recent corporate appearances that it is rethinking the viability of battery-electric pickups at this stage of its loss-making EV strategy, with Lawler saying that "the duty cycles for some of the larger vehicles are not going to be conducive with an electric vehicle".

Lawler says that Ford is motivated to accelerate its smaller vehicles, because whereas the largest profits in ICE manufacturing lie in larger cars, "it is the inverse in electric vehicles."

"The most expensive part of an electric vehicle is the battery. The smaller the vehicle, the smaller the battery you can put in. So therefore, then the cost is lower," he says.

"We see that in that smaller footprint with that flexible platform, starting out in that $25,000 to $30,000 price range, we can create a vehicle that's going to be profitable," Lawler continues.
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And he promises that Ford's "flexible platform... will have several top hats on top of it", including products developed for global, not purely US market, reach.

The automaker is still projecting a loss of "between $5.5bn to $5bn" for its Model E division in 2024. But Lawler says the firm's latest electric product releases will at least allow it to maintain some pricing stability amid downward pressure on EV values throughout 2024.

"We believe that given the new products that we have, there will be some pricing power that we have because, as you know, with new products, you tend to have more of a price premium than the older models. And so we expect that to offset some of that price degradation," he says.

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