Ford announces $3.5B EV battery production plant with CATL’s help

Credit: Ford Motor Company

Ford has announced that it will build a $3.5 billion battery production facility in the Marshall Township of Western Michigan. The plant comes with an agreement Ford recently confirmed with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL).

Ford has the ambitious goal of producing 2 million EVs annually by 2026, and a key element to that plan is a rapid expansion of production. Ford started with “Blue Oval City,” a massive new production and office facility in Tennesee, and has since then begun construction of its first battery production location and enormous expansions of existing factories throughout the U.S.

Now, the company has doubled down, constructing yet another battery production facility, this one in Marshall, Michigan, with the help of CATL.

The $3.5 billion 2,000 acre megasite, while not Ford’s first battery plant, is the company’s first try with LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, batteries. Ford CEO Jim Farley states that these batteries are designed to be cheaper, charge faster, and last longer. LFP battery packs have been used by other automakers, including Tesla, to combat supply shortages.

Ford’s LFP battery design comes from a collaboration with CATL, who will also be helping the company start the Marshall plant as it comes online in 2026.

Charles Poon, Director, Electrified Systems Engineering, Ford Motor Company, holds a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, while Anand Sankaran, Director, Ford Ion Park, Ford Motor Company, holds a nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) battery. Ford currently uses NCM in its electric vehicles, and will add LFP to its lineup beginning later this year to help it produce more EVs and make them more accessible and affordable for customers.more
Ted Miller, Manager, Ford Battery Cell Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company, speaks at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, Mich., on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, ahead of an announcement where Ford detailed plans to be the first automaker to commit to build both nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in the U.S.more
Ted Miller, Manager, Ford Battery Cell Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company, holds a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery during a presentation on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, Mich. Ford is investing $3.5 billion in the countryÕs first automaker-backed LFP battery plant, offering customers a second battery technology within FordÕs electric vehicle lineup.more

Thus far, no Ford EVs currently employ LFP batteries, instead opting for more energy-dense and expensive chemistries. However, that will be changing. This spring, the Ford Mustang Mach-E will be the first Ford EV with the option of LFP battery cells, with more vehicles receiving the same treatment shortly. Ford did not announce how this change will affect the pricing of the Mach-E.

To help fund the plant, the Michigan Strategic Fund announced that it would contribute $210 million on top of funds made available through the Inflation Reduction Act. With the massive stockpile of IRA funds, the Feds are poised to pay anywhere in the range of between $20 and $50 per kWh produced domestically to help with initial production costs. However, that number is highly dependent on material sourcing, operation size, and other factors.

While the project is undoubtedly a great aid to Ford in its mission to electrify its product lineup, it is even better news for Mashall, Michigan, which over the past decade has lost just over 2,000 jobs, according to the “Choose Marshall” organization. With Ford’s infusion of 2,500 new jobs, the entire region is poised to rebound and will likely result in higher standards of living across the board.

Along with nine other new production facilities, Ford is headed toward hitting its 2 million EV run rate and is poised to maintain its position as the second-largest EV brand in the United States. Though, with an equally massive investment being made by General Motors, Stellantis, and others, there is no lack of competition for EV supremacy in the country. Hopefully, more automakers will choose, as Ford has, to invest in the U.S. and work towards growing the number of EVs available for everyone who lives here.

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William Johnson: Will is an auto enthusiast, a gear head, and an EV enthusiast above all. From racing, to industry data, to the most advanced EV tech on earth, he now covers it at Teslarati.
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