DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. in the coming months will offer two different battery chemistries on its electric vehicles as the automaker introduces a lower-cost and shorter-range alternative to the packs it uses today.
But its customers, Ford said, many of whom are new to EVs, won't be saddled with confusing purchase decisions over specific chemistries, as the options will be woven into already-established configurations based on battery range.
Today, all Ford EVs are equipped with batteries using a nickel cobalt manganese chemistry. Starting this spring, Ford will offer the less-expensive lithium iron phosphate chemistry on its Mustang Mach-E. This battery chemistry will come to the F-150 Lightning next year.
In addition to their low cost because of more readily available materials, lithium iron phosphate batteries are more durable and can be fully recharged more quickly, Ford said. That makes them better for customers who mainly use their vehicle for routine trips to work or school, or fleet operators with fixed routes.
Nickel cobalt manganese batteries, by contrast, can offer longer range and are more energy-dense, making them better for customers who take long road trips or need to tow or haul.
Despite the addition of a new battery chemistry, Ford's EV customers will simply continue to select between a standard- range battery or an extended-range battery. Charles Poon, Ford's global director of electrified systems engineering, said EVs with standard-range batteries will automatically get the lithium iron phosphate chemistry while extended-range models will continue to use nickel cobalt manganese batteries.
Still, Poon said the automaker plans to educate customers and dealers on the differences so they can make more informed purchase decisions.
"We will continue to utilize multiple media channels including FordPass to provide suggestions to our customers so they can maximize the experience irrespective of chemistry," he said. "Dealer training is a core component of bringing any new product to market for both sales and service staff and we will continue on that process."