Ford CEO Jim Farley poses with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck in Dearborn, Michigan, May 19, 2021.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Ford Motor plans to increase its production capacity of electric vehicles to 600,000 units globally by 2023, which CEO Jim Farley expects would make the company the second-largest U.S.-based producer of EVs behind Tesla.
Farley said the increase is double what the company initially expected to do over the next 24 months, according to a report Thursday from Automotive News. That production is expected to be spread across Ford’s first three new EVs: the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit. It would come before production is expected to begin at a newly announced EV assembly plant in Tennessee, according to the Detroit-based publication.
“The demand is so much higher than we expected,” Farley said. “It’s a really new experience for this big company, trying to be agile. We had to approach it very differently than we’ve done capacity planning.”
It’s unclear if 600,000 would place it second behind Tesla. General Motors plans to sell 1 million electric vehicles globally by 2025. Tesla said in its third-quarter investor update that the installed annual capacity at its Fremont, California vehicle assembly plant stands at 600,000, and in Shanghai at more than 450,000 cars per year. And the company is building new factories near Berlin, and Austin, Texas.
A GM spokesman said the automaker was approaching 300,000 EV sales globally through the first nine months of this year, largely in China. GM also plans to convert at least four North American plants currently producing vehicles with internal combustion engines to be capable of producing EVs in the coming years, in addition to plants in China and Michigan that already produce such vehicles.
In connection to the increase in EV capacity, Farley said Ford plans to convert more than 80% of reservation holders for its upcoming F-150 Lightning EV into owners. Ford says more than 160,000 reservations that require a $100 fully refundable deposit have been placed for the vehicle ahead of its arrival in dealerships by mid-next year.
– CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.