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Ford Quietly Building Low-Cost EV Team with Rival Talent

The team includes some of the best EV engineers in the world.

Ford has bet on electric vehicles to help drive future growth and like a lot of other automakers, it’s zeroed in on price point as one of the catalysts for driving consumer adoption.

The automaker has seen some limited success so far with its F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E. But those vehicles’ most basic packages start at about $40,000 and $50,000 respectively. Ford has seemingly understood for a while that a lower entry point will be necessary to get more drivers to switch from internal combustion engines, since the company formed a skunkworks team more than two years ago to work on a low-cost EV platform.

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    Ford CEO Jim Farley revealed that team earlier this year and called it a small group of some of the best EV engineers in the world. It seems that the skunkworks team has been growing fast since then.

    According to a new report from TechCrunch, which reviewed hiring notices on LinkedIn, Ford’s low-cost EV team has added about 300 to its headcount in the past year. That includes significant numbers of former employees from EV rivals like Tesla, Rivian, Canoo and Lucid, along with some engineers who floated over from Apple’s recently closed automotive project.

    These relatively new hires have presumably been working under Alan Clarke, the multi-year veteran of Tesla who TechCrunch previously reported to be the leader of the skunkworks squad.

    The dream of a low-cost EV is one that Ford shares with other automakers like Tesla and Stellantis. Tesla has temporarily shelved its aspirations for a cheaper electric car but Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said consumers should expect a $25,000 all-electric Jeep from his company “very soon.”

    For now though, at least at Ford, the price range is still elusive and gas-powered vehicles still account for the vast majority of sales. The company earlier this month said it’s sold about 766,000 internal combustion vehicles so far this year, compared to about 37,000 EVs and 74,000 hybrid vehicles. Still, those EV sales represented an 88% spike compared to the same period last year while gas-powered sales have remained essentially flat.

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