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Ford in the future with lithium iron phosphate batteries (LFP batteries)

So far, only a few electric car manufacturers have used lithium iron phosphate batteries. A major player, Ford, will be added shortly. The promise: lower costs.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries are currently a hotly debated topic among electric car manufacturers. So far, however, hardly any car manufacturer has used the so-called LFP batteries. One of the pioneers was Tesla. The brand began equipping its base models in China with such energy storage systems as early as autumn 2020. LFP Teslas are now also available in Europe and the USA. In addition to a few other Chinese manufacturers, BYD is also a major driver of the LFP advance.

Ford will soon be another big player to accelerate the spread of lithium iron phosphate batteries. "We will be using LFP batteries in the Mustang Mach-E this spring," said CEO Jim Farley at the presentation of the new e-car strategy in the USA. The introduction of the F-150 Lightning e-pickup will follow in 2024. This puts the two electric hopefuls at the forefront of the brand's internal LFP revolution.

Don't wait until 2026

The selection of models and the time frame show: Ford doesn't want to waste any time when it comes to lithium iron phosphate cell chemistry and want to go directly to impressive production volumes. The group could have waited until 2026. Then the new battery factory in Marshall, Michigan, will start operations. Only LFP batteries are to be produced in the gigafactory, with a total capacity of 35 gigawatt hours at full capacity. That should be enough for around 400,000 electric cars.

The factory is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford. But when it comes to cell chemistry and the production of the new cells, the car manufacturer is bringing know-how and services from China on board. Ford has signed an agreement with the battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., better known by its abbreviation CATL, to integrate the cells developed by the specialist into its own battery packs and vehicles. Incidentally, the LFP batteries that Tesla uses also come from CATL.

Probably more advantages than disadvantages

Compared to the previously more widespread nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries, LFP batteries are said to be less powerful, i.e. have disadvantages in terms of range, but they also offer some advantages. Ford cites better longevity first; In addition, more frequent and faster charging should be possible. In addition, significantly fewer minerals such as nickel and cobalt, which are critical in terms of environmental protection and human rights, are required. Ford promises to achieve its sustainability goals faster.

And of course to reduce costs, because these raw materials are currently traded at high prices on the world market.Ford promises to be able to maintain or even reduce the prices of its electric vehicles thanks to the new batteries. They will "become more and more affordable over time," promises Farley. This suggests that Ford is targeting LFP batteries primarily for the base versions of its electric models. Tesla is doing the same thing.

European e-Fords with LFP batteries

Ford's LFP battery revolution is supposed to take place mainly in the USA. But the manufacturer has already announced that it intends to equip both its next-generation electric cars and commercial vehicles that are already under development with lithium-iron phosphate batteries. This means that the new batteries should also be used in European models.


Nickel-cobalt-manganese cell chemistry still dominates in electric car batteries. The only question is how much longer. Ford will soon be switching to lithium iron phosphate cells - cautiously at first, then really from 2026 onwards. Many other automakers including BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes and Volkswagen will follow. The switch is accompanied by the hope that batteries will last longer in the future, be capable of more and faster charging cycles and become more sustainable. And cheaper, which hopefully will also appeal to customers.


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