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Ford Motor Co hopes to become the world’s second-largest electric vehicle maker within two years, with an annual production capacity of nearly 600,000, a senior company executive said on Friday.

The automaker’s optimism stems from growing demand for its next new electric vehicle, the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, with retail bookings approaching 200,000, said Lisa Drake, Ford chief operating officer North America.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Ford would likely compete with Stellantis for third place in the electric vehicle race by 2025, behind Tesla and the Volkswagen Group, based on production forecast data provided by AutoForecast Solutions.

Speaking at an investor conference, Drake said Ford is working to vertically integrate more electric vehicle components, including power electronics and electric drives, into existing facilities that manufacture electric vehicles. parts for combustion vehicles – a modern take on the pioneering work of founder Henry Ford in building many of his own components.

“We haven’t used ‘vertical integration’ in this industry for a long time,” Drake said, but “you’re going to hear it a lot more” as Ford and other automakers move from combustion vehicles to vehicles. electric.

She said Ford was working with five global battery suppliers to manufacture and help develop battery cells for its future electric vehicles, with the goal of building 240 gigawatt hours of production capacity worldwide by 2030. These suppliers include SK On, LG Energy Solution, CATL, BYD and Panasonic. .

Ford expects to reduce the cost of EV battery cells to $ 80 per kilowatt hour at the pack level “well before the end of the decade,” Drake said.

The automaker is looking at different cell chemistries, including cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate and cell-to-pack structural batteries to help keep costs down.

Ford and BMW are working with Colorado-based startup Solid Power on the development of solid-state batteries, which Drake says should be on the market “well before the end of the decade.”

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