In its latest setback, Ford is cutting back on another significant EV investment. The company is scaling back plans at its $3.5B EV battery plant in Michigan as it adjusts to market demand.
Ford said it was “re-timing and resizing some investments” in a statement Tuesday. Although it remains bullish on its long-term strategy, Ford is reducing its investment and cutting jobs at its Michigan EV battery plant.
The company is cutting production capacity at the facility by over 40%. Ford now expects the facility to produce around 20 GWh, a big difference from the 35 GWh initially expected.
Ford is also reducing its investment in the facility by nearly $1.5B while cutting the expected number of jobs to 1,700.
After announcing the facility in Marshall, MI, this February, initial plans called for:
- 2,500 new jobs
- 35 GWh annual output of LFP batteries, starting in 2026
- 400,000 EVs in 2026, or 20% of Ford’s expected 2M output.
Those plans are now being scaled back drastically. The plant will now produce enough LFP batteries for around 230,000 EVs annually.
Ford’s chief communications officer, Mark Truby, told reporters (via Bloomberg) that EV adoption “is not growing at the pace” they expected. Truby said Ford wants to be “really disciplined” about spending and matching future demand.
Ford to scale back Michigan EV plant in latest setback
Ford’s EV plant in Michigan was quickly targeted over its partnership with Chinese battery giant CATL. Plans called for Ford to own the plant while licensing CATL’s tech to build the LFP batteries.
The move is part of Ford’s plans to scale back EV investments. Ford said it was delaying its 600,000 run rate goal until next year over the summer.
More recently, it cut one of three shifts at its Rouge EV complex, where the F-150 Lightning is built. Ford’s CFO John Lawler explained last month the company has also “taken out some Mach-E production.
Lawler added that Ford is “slowing down several investments, including making a decision with SK On to delay the second BlueOval SK JV battery plant in Kentucky.”
Ford is pushing back around $12 billion in spending on EVs. Sales of Ford’s electric pickup fell 46% in Q3. The company lost around $36,000 on every EV sold during the quarter.
Truby said the decision was based on “demand and the expected growth for EVs, our business plans, our product cycle plans,” and the ability to create a sustainable plant.
He added, “Labor costs was one of the factors we were looking at.” Ford reached an agreement with the UAW, which increased wages by 25%.
Despite this, Ford said it plans to move ahead with the project. It expects to begin producing LFP battery cells in 2026.
Plans to scale back its Michigan EV battery plant is the latest setback for Ford. The company continues delaying EV investments alongside rival General Motors.
GM revealed it was pushing back production of the Equinox, Silverado, and GMC Sierra Denali EVs last month. Following a four-year run, it’s also not planning to promote its EVs during the 2024 Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, rivals, including Hyundai and Volvo, are doubling down as they work to expand their brands.
Hyundai surpassed GM and Ford in EV sales in Q3. Including Kia, Hyundai claimed 7.5% of the market, while GM’s Chevy (5.9%) and Ford (5.5%) fell in the rankings.
Jose Munoz, Hyundai’s global president, told Reuters last week, “Based on what I see, I need more. If I had more capacity today, I could sell more cars.”
Meanwhile, Volvo expects its smallest and cheapest electric SUV, the EX30 (check out our review), to keep momentum rolling next year.
Juiced launches new Scrambler X2 as ‘better than ever’ electric bike
San Diego-based e-bike company Juiced Bikes has just launched a new version of one of the company’s most popular electric bikes. The updated Scrambler X2 is “back and better than ever!”.
Juiced Bikes is one of the longest-running e-bike companies in the US. As an e-bike dinosaur, I started in the space back in 2009, and even back then Juiced Bikes was the go-to e-bike company. So they know a thing or two about building electric bikes.
The Scrambler was one of their early hits, showcasing how mini-bike styling could be incorporated into the North American e-bike market. Now, the popular model has been relaunched as the Juiced Scrambler X2.
The box-framed electric bike comes with a series of new components, including a “massive, upgraded 1,000-Watt motor and controller system”. A humorous typo on the product page right now shows the motor listed as “100 watts”, but it should actually pump out 10x that much power according to the actual tech specs.
Similarly oversized is the new 52V 15.6 Ah battery that is SGS-certified to UL 2271. Its 811 watt-hours of capacity are said to be sufficient for up to 55 miles (88 km) of range on a single charge. Keep in mind though that if you’re cruising around at the bike’s top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h), you’re not going to get that higher end of the range spectrum.
Those Class 3 speeds are reachable on pedal assist using the bike’s cadence sensor. The Scrambler X2 will top out at 20 mph (32 km/h) for riders who want to stick to throttle-only operation in order to maintain Class 2 compliance.
The 71.5 lb (32.4 kg) e-bike also includes front suspension, all-terrain knobby tires, an oversized moto-style headlamp, an oversized retro seat that can fit two adult riders, an “advanced” LCD display, and a USB charging port.
In the five years since the original Scrambler was introduced, Juiced has developed a number of new components and tech advancements that have made their way onto the new version. As CEO and founder of Juiced Bikes Tora Harris explained:
“When we launched the original Scrambler in 2018, we were determined to develop a high-performance e-bike that would turn heads and take alternative transport in an unexpected direction. The Scrambler X2 brings the fun and thrill of e-biking to the next level, harnessing top-notch power, speed, style and safety so everyone from seasoned cyclists to first-time riders can find more joy in the journey.”
The Scrambler X2 launched in three colors of Desert Tan, Black, and Red. It also currently comes with an exclusive introductory price of US $1,499, marked down from its $1,899 regular price.
What do you think of the new Scrambler X2? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
‘Beyond justification’: Record number of fossil fuel lobbyists attend COP28 climate talks in Dubai
A man wearing a thawb walks past flags of nations participating in the UNFCCC COP28 Climate Conference the day before its official opening on November 29, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Nearly 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists are estimated to have been granted access to the COP28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates, according to an analysis from advocacy groups, reflecting a sharp increase from last year.
A report published Tuesday by the Kick Big Polluters Out coalition found that at least 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists registered to attend the two-week long summit. That’s more than almost every other country delegation, except for Brazil (3,081) and COP28 host the United Arab Emirates (4,409), the analysis said.
The findings come at the mid-way point of COP28 and as a fight over the future of fossil fuels takes center stage.
Campaigners say the number of fossil fuel lobbyists attending the talks is “beyond justification” and signals that polluting industries are seeking to advance a fossil fuel agenda at the expense of frontline communities.
Others, however, including former U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz, said that Big Oil’s participation at COP28 should be welcomed.
The International Energy Agency said in the run-up to the talks that the oil and gas industry faces a “moment of truth” about their role in the global energy system and the deepening climate crisis.
A COP28 spokesperson was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC.
“2023 was a year like no other. Record temperatures, record levels of emissions, and now we see a record attendance from Big Polluters at UN climate talks,” said Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, head of building movement power at Climate Action Network International, a global network of civil society organizations.
“The window to preserve a liveable planet is rapidly closing. At the same time, ever greater numbers of Big Polluters are allowed to roam around this summit, which communities on the frontlines cannot afford to have fail again,” they added.
The surge in the number of fossil fuel lobbyists attending the U.N. climate talks follows a growing call from public officials, U.N. constituencies and civil society groups to eject polluters from the talks.
For many at the U.N. talks, which are being held in Dubai through Dec. 12, COP28 can only be recognized as a success if it results in a deal to phase out all fossil fuels, the burning of which is the chief driver of the climate crisis.
Not everyone is on board with calls for a phase-out. Russia has said it would oppose this language being used in the final agreement, while COP28 host the United Arab Emirates has signaled its preference for a phase-down.
The language of the final agreement will be closely monitored. A “phase out” commitment would likely require a shift away from fossil fuels until their use is eliminated, while a “phase down” could indicate a reduction in their use — but not an absolute end.
There’s also a debate about whether an agreement should center on “abated” fossil fuels, which are trapped and stocked with carbon capture and storage technologies. “Unabated” fossil fuels are largely understood to be produced and used without substantial reductions in the amount of emitted greenhouse gases.
In an unprecedented start to proceedings on Thursday, delegates at COP28 sealed the details of a landmark deal to help the world’s most vulnerable countries pay for the impacts of climate disasters.
A flurry of COP28 announcements have since sought to help decarbonize the energy sector, with nearly 120 governments on Saturday pledging to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.
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