Ford said it was “retiming” the launch of upcoming electric vehicles at its Oakville, Ontario, Canada assembly plant “while continuing to build out an advanced industrial system to produce… electric vehicles, including greenfield construction and conversion of existing assembly plants”.

The company would continue to invest in EVs on its way to a full electric product line.

“These initiatives support the development of a differentiated and profitably growing EV business over time while [we serve] customers with the right mix of [petrol], hybrid and electric vehicles based on demand today,” the automaker said in a statement, adding it was expanding its hybrid electric offerings.

By the end of the decade, the company expected to offer hybrid powertrains across its entire Ford Blue model line in North America.

In the first quarter of 2024, Ford electric vehicle sales increased 86% and hybrid sales rose 42% year on year.

“As the No. 2 EV brand in the U.S. for the past two years, we are committed to scaling a profitable EV business, using capital wisely and bringing to market the right [petrol], hybrid and fully electric vehicles at the right time,” said president and CEO Jim Farley in the statement.

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“Our breakthrough, next generation EVs will be new from the ground up and fully software enabled, with ever improving digital experiences and a multitude of potential services.”

Oakville retool

Changing Oakville Assembly from a petrol vehicle assembly plant into an EV manufacturing complex was still set to begin in the second quarter, as originally planned.

Market launch of three, all new, three row electric vehicles would be pushed back to to 2027 from 2025. The additional time would allow for the consumer market for three row EVs (Kia recently entered the segment with its KV9) to further develop and enable Ford “to take advantage of emerging battery technology with the goal to provide customers increased durability and better value”.

“We value our Canadian teammates and appreciate that this delay will have an impact on this excellent team,” Farley added. “We are fully committed to manufacturing in Canada and believe this decision will help us build a profitably growing business for the long term.”

The company would work with the Unifor auto workers union “to mitigate the impact the launch delay will have on its workforce at Oakville”.

BlueOval City

Development of the BlueOval City campus, the automaker’s new production complex which includes the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant, was progressing on track, Ford said.

In addition to paint shop and vehicle assembly equipment, installation is also under way for 4,000 tons of stamping equipment which will produce sheet metal stampings for a new electric truck.

Ford plans to begin deliveries of that new truck in 2026 but only gradually ramp up production “to help assure quality”.

The Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center would be its first Industry 4.0 plant, combining automation and connectivity to help improve quality and efficiency.

Ohio Assembly Plant

Ford is also continuing expansion of Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake to produce a new electric commercial vehicle from mid decade.

Half of the structural steel is erected on the site, interior slabs are being poured, concrete walls are going up and masonry is beginning on interior walls. Ford expected to begin tool installation in spring 2025.

Employees at the plant will use wearable technology.

Future EVs

Design work continues on future EVs. A “skunkworks” team in California is developing a smaller, low cost, profitable, flexible EV platform capable of underpinning multiple vehicles at high volume.

Alan Clarke heads growing team, which includes personnel from Auto Motive Power (AMP) following Ford’s acquisition of the EV energy management startup late in 2023.

Construction is also progressing at BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, Michigan and at the BlueOval SK joint venture battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.