Ford pauses construction of $3.5 billion CATL battery plant in Michigan

Ford has announced it is halting construction of its $3.5 billion Blue Oval Battery Park in Michigan, a facility that is intended to manufacture lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells for its electric vehicles (EVs).

The Blue Oval Battery Park Michigan project was expected to start operations in 2026 with an annual capacity of 35 GWh, or enough to supply about 400,000 EVs per year. The facility was touted as a pivotal step in Ford’s commitment to its electric transition. However, that timeline is in doubt now after Ford said on Monday it was pausing construction, giving no timeline for when work  might resume.

“We’re pausing work, and we’re going to limit spending on construction at Marshall until we’re confident about our ability to competitively run the plant,” said Ford spokesman T.R. Reid to The Detroit News.

Since the $3.5 billion plant was announced in February, concerns have been raised by both political figures and national security experts regarding the partnership with CATL, a company with with alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The controversy stems from the potential influence the CCP might exert on US industries, particularly EV supply chains. Critics argue that such partnerships could compromise national security by increasing dependence on China, a concern heightened by escalating geopolitical tensions.

Part of the reason Ford partnered with CATL was due to the Inflation Reduction Act, which incentivizes automakers to prioritize domestically sourced batteries. This shift resulted in a flurry of battery factory announcements across North America over the past year.

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