Ford Skunkworks Project Led By Ex-Tesla Exec To Develop Low-Cost EV


Former Tesla and Ford Advanced EV development boss Alan Clarke is spearheading a Ford skunkworks project aimed at creating a low-cost electric vehicle. This initiative, which has been in progress for about two years, is based in Irvine, California and includes engineers from Auto Motive Power (AMP), an EV power startup that Ford acquired in November 2023. Anil Paryani, the founder of AMP and a former colleague of Clarke at Tesla, is also involved in the skunkworks project.

Key Takeaway

Ford’s skunkworks project, led by former Tesla executive Alan Clarke, is focused on developing a low-cost electric vehicle, emphasizing cost, smaller EVs, and efficiency. Despite adjustments to its EV investment plans, Ford remains committed to future products and is strategically positioning itself in the competitive EV market.

Focusing on Cost and Efficiency

Ford CEO Jim Farley mentioned the formation of a “skunkworks” team during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, indicating its focus on developing a “low-cost” EV platform. The project is centered on creating a third-generation EV, with a strong emphasis on cost, smaller EVs, and efficiency, particularly in relation to the battery. While specific details and timelines have not been disclosed, Farley’s comments suggest a strategic shift towards smaller EV products.

Strategic Adjustments and Future Investments

Despite scaling back some of its EV investment plans, Ford remains committed to developing future products. Farley previously unveiled details about the company’s second-generation EV platform, which will serve as the foundation for the T3 electric truck and three-row SUV slated for production in 2025. The company’s EV teams are prioritizing cost and efficiency in their products, recognizing the competitive landscape posed by affordable Tesla models and Chinese OEMs.

Financial Performance and Outlook

Ford’s restructuring into distinct units, including Ford Pro, Ford Blue, and Ford Model e, reflects its strategic focus on commercial, internal combustion engine and hybrid, as well as connectivity and electric vehicles. While the company’s profits have been driven by sales of gas-powered and hybrid vehicles, its EV business continues to impact earnings. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Ford reported revenue of $46 billion, with Ford Blue representing the largest share. Despite a loss in the fourth quarter, the company’s adjusted pre-tax earnings outlook has provided a positive market response.

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