Ford aims to be world's #2 electric vehicle maker within two years - COO

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the Ford Motor Company makes his way to work following the company's announcement to build future electric cars in Cologne, Germany, February 17, 2021. Oliver Berg/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co expects to be the world's second largest electric vehicle manufacturer within two years, with annual production capacity of nearly 600,000, a top company executive said Friday.

Driving the automaker's optimism is increasing demand for its next new EV, the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, with retail reservations now approaching 200,000, according to Lisa Drake, chief operating officer of Ford North America.

Speaking at an investor conference, Drake said Ford is working with five global battery suppliers to manufacture and help develop battery cells for its future EVs. Those suppliers include SK On, LG Energy Solution, CATL, BYD and Panasonic.

Ford expects to reduce EV battery cell cost to $80 per kilowatt-hour at the pack level "well before the end of the decade," Drake said.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit)

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