Ford changing electric car plans, new UAW agreement suggests

Ford may be shifting its electric car strategy.

The automaker’s tentative agreement with the UAW indicates that a plan to bring electric vehicle production to the Flat Rock, Mich., factory that manufactures the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental has been changed. Ford announced in March that the factory would begin building electric vehicles at the facility in 2023. The update was first reported by Automotive News.

Ford has been using this prototype vehicle to test electric drivetrain components.

Ford has been using this prototype vehicle to test electric drivetrain components. (Ford)

The terms of the new agreement, released by the UAW, say that the plant will now get a $250 million investment to continue Mustang production, including an all-new version and “derivatives” arriving at an unspecified date, and will also build the current-generation Continental until its lifecycle ends. The document adds that Ford is “continuing to explore future opportunities [at Flat Rock] during the life of this agreement.”

In a September interview with Fox News Autos, Ted Cannis, Ford’s head of electric vehicles, would not offer any details on the Flat Rock electric vehicle project, and on Monday a Ford spokeswoman said the company would not comment on future product.

This speculative rendering of the "Mustang-inspired" SUV combines elements from a number of teaser images released by Ford.

This speculative rendering of the "Mustang-inspired" SUV combines elements from a number of teaser images released by Ford. (Mach E Forum)

The agreement does mention that a “new product” will be added to Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant in 2023 as part of a $900 million investment, but does not say what it is. It also reveals that a previously unannounced electric Transit is now slated for the Kansas City Assembly Plant, where conventional versions of the van are produced. In October, Ford debuted a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit for Europe that it said would not be coming to the U.S.

Along with the potential changes to Ford’s U.S. electric vehicle efforts, the company will be unveiling a “Mustang-inspired” performance electric utility vehicle on Nov. 17 that will be manufactured in Mexico starting next year. An electric F-150 and a vehicle built through a collaboration with startup automaker Rivian are also in the works.

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