Ford boosts EV spending, outlines 2030 sales targets, shares near 5-year high

26 May 2021 - 16:34 By Reuters
Ford's all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
Ford's all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
Image: Supplied

Ford Motor Co on Wednesday outlined plans to boost spending on its electrification efforts by more than a third and said it aims to have 40% of its global volume be all electric by 2030 in a move to have investors value it more like a technology company.

Under a plan dubbed “Ford+," the No. 2 US automaker said it now expects to spend more than $30bn (roughly R413,541,000,000) on electrification, including battery development, by 2030, up from its prior target of $22bn (roughly R302,914,040,000). It has launched the all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover, and plans to introduce electric versions of the Transit van and F-150 pickup.

In premarket trading, Ford shares were up about 2%.

“This is our biggest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford started to scale the Model T,” Ford chief executive Jim Farley said in a statement.

Ford and other global automakers are racing to shift their gasoline-powered line-ups to all electric power under pressure from regions like Europe and China to cut vehicle emissions. US president Joe Biden has called for $174bn (roughly R2,395,774,680,000) to boost US EV production, sales and infrastructure.

Ford rival General Motors Co has said it aspires to halt US sales of petrol-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. The Detroit automaker said last year it was investing $27bn (roughly R371,758,140,000) in electric and autonomous vehicles over the next five years.

Some analysts see Ford as trailing its rivals in the electrification race, but Ford officials disagree with that view, pointing to the Mach-E rollout and its other plans.

Ahead of an investor meeting, Ford said it expects to deliver an 8% operating margin in 2023.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company also said it is forming a new unit, called Ford Pro, to focus exclusively on commercial and government customers, a segment Farley sees as a huge growth opportunity for the company.

The company is targeting increasing revenue for the commercial market for hardware and related services addressable by Ford to $45bn (roughly R619,475,400,000) by 2025, up from $27bn (roughly R371,758,140,000) in 2019.

Ford said it will also aim to develop EV batteries, from lithium-ion versions to lithium-ion phosphate for commercial vehicles and eventually low-cost solid-state batteries in partnership with start-up Solid Power, in which the automaker has invested.

Last week, the automaker announced a memorandum of understanding to form a battery joint venture with South Korea's SK Innovation, to make battery cells at two US plants.

Ford also said it expects to have 1 million vehicles capable of receiving over-the-air software updates on the road by the end of the year, and scaling that to 33 million by 2028.

It sees the overall market for connected functions like driver-assist technologies, new features and upgraded software content, and EV charging hitting a projected $20bn (roughly R275,322,400,000) by 2030.

Sources previously told Reuters Ford plans to develop two dedicated EV platforms, one for full-size trucks and SUVs, the other for cars and smaller SUVs.

The sources said Ford is planning to launch at least nine all-electric cars and car-based SUVs and at least three electric trucks, vans and larger SUVs, including second-generation editions of the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mach-E at mid-decade.