Ford is reportedly considering building a new battery manufacturing plant to produce lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.
Over the past year, Ford has continually struggled with supply chain issues. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the Blue Oval’s EV offerings, where it has been forced to increase prices, delay deliveries, and limit production. At the same time, battery manufacturers have been rushing to the United States to establish supply deals and factories in what is becoming “America’s battery belt.” According to Bloomberg, CATL is looking to do just that in a possible deal with the American automaker.
What makes CATL’s proposed battery plant different from the one Ford is already constructing with SK On in Kentucky is the type of battery the plant would reportedly produce. From the details released in Bloomberg’s story, sources claim that the new facility, either coming to Michigan or Virginia, would produce lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. These batteries are slightly less energy dense than traditional lithium-ion batteries but are far cheaper to make due to a decreased reliance on rare earth metals within them.
Bloomberg’s sources did not specify which products these new batteries could be used it, but many expect that many of Ford’s entry-level EV models; the F150 Lightning Pro, the possible electric Maverick, etc., could all benefit from a far cheaper battery rather than the more range capable and more expensive batteries that would be coming from Ford’s new SK facility.
Ford was not immediately available for comment to Teslarati and did not comment to Bloomberg, who originally published the story.
One interesting aspect of the possible deal is the creative ownership structure that is being considered to make the plant qualify for federal incentives. In this case, Ford would own 100% of the facility and the infrastructure surrounding it, but CATL would operate the facility and supply the automaker with its LFP batteries.
It isn’t clear what stage of the deal the two companies are in or if the plant will come to fruition. However, it does indicate that Ford is interested in the prospect of using LFP batteries within its products in the near future. Further, this suggests that the brand intends to substantially expand its affordable EV offerings. In either case, this is excellent news regarding the expansion of Ford’s electric offerings generally and for Ford’s millions of customers, many of whom will likely be looking to get a new electric vehicle in the coming years.
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