Ford (F) announced big spending plans today in its home state of Michigan, with a new battery plant.
As part of the company’s $50 billion global investment in electrification, Ford will build a $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Marshall, Michigan.
“BlueOval Battery Park Michigan” will actually produce LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, batteries for its EVs. Ford says it will be the only automaker in the U.S. to build both LFP and nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) battery chemistries. Most EVs in the U.S. use NCM batteries.
“To get as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, we’re the first automaker to commit to build both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley in a statement. “We’re delivering on our commitments as we scale LFP and NCM batteries and thousands, and soon millions, of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting edge, durable battery technologies that are growing more affordable over time.”
Ford says the $3.5 billion investment will create 2,500 jobs initially, with battery production slated to begin in 2026. Ford says this investment brings its battery spend in the U.S. along with its partners to $17.6 billion since 2019. Ford has said it plans to deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 EVs globally by the end of 2023, and 2 million EVs globally by 2026, and this plant is one step in the process of reaching its goal.
Although the plant is wholly owned by Ford, it is working with China’s CATL in order to produce the LFP batteries. Ford says it will “manufacture the battery cells using LFP battery cell knowledge and services provided by CATL.”
This is significant because earlier this year Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin blocked a planned Ford and CATL battery plant in Virginia, claiming it was a “Trojan Horse” for China that would undermine U.S. interests. Gov. Youngkin, a former co-CEO of private equity giant Carlyle Group, was criticized by both business and state government leaders for blocking the deal.
“Today’s generational investment by an American icon will uplift local families, small businesses, and the entire community and help our state continue leading the future of mobility and electrification,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Let’s continue bringing the supply chain of electric vehicles, chips, and batteries home while creating thousands of good paying jobs and revitalizing every region of our state.”
Speaking of bringing the EV supply chain to the U.S., for Ford the ability to produce batteries in the U.S. will not only help it reduce costs, but it will also help the automaker meet the IRA’s (Inflation Reduction Act) strict requirements for domestic battery production and critical mineral sourcing needed for consumers to qualify for the federal EV tax credit.