Ford Motor Co. has selected its home state, Michigan, as the location for a new $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant, aiming to bring more production into the U.S. by striking a deal with a Chinese company.
The new facility in Marshall, Michigan will manufacture lithium iron phosphate batteries for next-generation electric passenger vehicles and pickup trucks, according to a press release. Called BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, the plant is set to employ 2,500 people when production begins in 2026.
At the start, the plant will add about 35 gigawatt hours per year to Ford’s new battery capacity, which the company said is “capable of powering” about 400,000 of its electric vehicles.
The batteries will be made with the help of “knowledge and services” from a Chinese company called Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), the release stated.
“We are committed to leading the electric vehicle revolution in America, and that means investing in the technology and jobs that will keep us on the cutting edge of this global transformation in our industry,” said Ford executive chair Bill Ford. “I am also proud that we chose our home state of Michigan for this critical battery production hub.”
CATL, Ford’s Chinese partner, is by far the world’s leading supplier of electric vehicle batteries, according to data reported by Electrive.com. Ford’s relationship with that firm – which Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin described a “Trojan horse” for China – recently prompted Youngkin to disqualify his state as a possible location for the plant.
Lisa Drake, vice president of EV industrialization for Ford, said Ford will not operate the plant as a joint venture with the Chinese firm, but instead will own the facility itself through a wholly owned subsidiary, CNBC reported. Ford will license CATL’s technology and technical expertise, she said.
“The [lithium iron phosphate] technology is already here in the U.S. … but, unfortunately, it’s always imported,” Drake said. “This project is aimed at de-risking that by actually building out the capacity and the capability to scale this technology in the United States, where Ford has control.”