We have been enthusiastically writing about the Ford F-150 Lightning since it came out, and the Mustang Mach-E is one of our 2021 CleanTechnica Car of the Year contenders. Both vehicles seem to have what it takes to become mass-market models — not just token electric vehicles. The core question many of us have been asking all along is: how many will Ford produce?
Note: I reached out to Ford regarding figures in this story and the core questions. A Ford representative responded, “More detail will be shared later. Stay tuned.” So, for now, we have imperfect data, various assumptions to play with, and a note that specifics will be coming from Ford sooner or later. Stay tuned.
The first topic to discuss is a brief and simple one. Rod Lache of Wolfe Research put out an analyst note right after the F-150 Lightning was revealed to indicate that they were forecasting 80,000 F-150 Lightning sales a year (to start, at least). My first question for Ford was about that. Since we have no specific response regarding that forecast yet, it is up to you and me whether to side with Rod or come up with a higher or lower forecast. All things considered, Rod’s estimate seems reasonable to me for the F-150 Lightning’s opening year (2022). Let us know down in the comment section if you disagree or have any other intel on this topic.
Some official info from Ford regarding batteries does get us into more interesting number games. A Ford press release from May 20 indicates that BlueOvalSK, a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation, will produce 60 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of battery cells and array modules starting in the middle of the 2020s. Additionally, “Ford’s global BEV plan calls for at least 240 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cell capacity by 2030 – roughly 10 plants’ worth of capacity. Approximately 140 GWh will be required in North America, with the balance dedicated to other key regions, including Europe and China.”
Running with those numbers and a few different assumptions, here are some things these numbers could mean:
60 GWh (mid-2020s)
- 600,000 electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 100 kWh
- 666,667 electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 90 kWh
- 750,000 electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 80 kWh
140 GWh (North America, 2030)
- 1.4 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 100 kWh
- 1.56 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 90 kWh
- 1.75 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 80 kWh
240 GWh (globally, 2030)
- 2.4 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 100 kWh
- 2.67 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 90 kWh
- 3 million electric vehicles a year with average battery size of 80 kWh
We have one more clue regarding 2030. Ford announced a few days ago that it expects for 40% of its global vehicle sales to be fully electric by 2030. We still don’t know what the total figure is that Ford is aiming for. However, a few million seems much more possible with this 40% target in mind. Ford also added these eye-catching figures regarding its first two hot models:
- “Mustang Mach-E, which is bringing new customers to Ford – 70% of buyers, to date”
- “The F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version of the world’s most popular pickup truck, which has amassed 70,000 customer reservations since it was unveiled one week ago.”
I think it’s safe to say that the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning will remain central components of Ford’s electrification evolution.
With those numbers in mind, let’s skip 2022 and jump to some possibilities for 2023 and 2024 — leading into the 60 GWh mid-2020s figure. If we consider 300,000–500,000 Ford electric vehicle sales a year, dominated by the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, we could see both models solidly north of 100,000 within a couple of years. By 2025, we could be talking hundreds of thousands of these inaugural electric Fords (ignoring the earlier Ford Focus Electric). I’m hesitant to make any more specific forecasts or wild assumptions at this point. However, that’s what the comments are for! Jump down in there and get wild.