Ford partners with CATL for $3.5 billion LFP battery plant in Michigan

Ford is making a $3.5 billion commitment towards lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, announcing on Monday a partnership with China’s CATL for a new LFP battery plant in Michigan.

The plant, called BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, will be built in the small rural town of Marshall, about 100 miles outside of Detroit. The company is expecting to start production of LFP battery packs with CATL by 2026, although no date for the start of construction has been provided. According to Ford the design and construction plans are still in the works.

When it is up and running the plant, which will be a wholly owned Ford subsidiary, will employ about 2,500 people and have an annual production capacity of 35GWh. That is the equivalent of about 400,000 Ford EVs. The automaker says they will “have the option to further grow its battery capacity” at this new plant, without providing details.

“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. I am also proud that we chose our home state of Michigan for this critical battery production hub,” said Bill Ford, Ford executive chair.

In its press release Ford highlights the benefits of LFP batteries over its nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) counterpart, which it says will be introduced in the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning next year to help “increase production capacity, with a goal of reducing wait times for customers.” Ford has previously said LFP will be about 10%-15% cheaper for them to produce than NCM.

Ford has said it aims to produce as many as 600,000 EVs this year, and up to 2 million by 2026 as part of its Ford+ plan. All of those will be sold at a loss however as the automaker confirmed last month they are not expecting the EV side of their business to be profitable until 2026 at the earliest.

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