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Ford accelerates its lead in the EV market with a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan.

by The Business Pinnacle
0 comment

BlueOval Battery Park Michigan’ will manufacture lithium iron phosphate or LFP batteries for Ford

Ford announced plans for investing in EVs with a new battery plant in its home state of Michigan for making cheaper lithium iron phosphate batteries for its growing portfolio of electric vehicles.

As an integral part of the company’s $50 billion global investment in electrification, Ford will construct a $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Marshall, Michigan.

‘BlueOval Battery Park Michigan’ will manufacture lithium iron phosphate or LFP batteries for its EVs. The automobile manufacturer states it will be the only automaker in the U.S. to produce both LFP and nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries. Most EVs in the U.S. use NCM batteries.

To have as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, Ford is the first automaker to commit to building both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States, said Jim Farley, Chief Executive Officer of Ford.

The company is delivering on its commitments as it scales LFP and NCM batteries and shortly millions of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting-edge, durable battery technologies that are expanding to more reasonably priced over time.

The automobile manufacturer said a $3.5 billion investment will create 2,500 jobs during the initial stages with battery production scheduled to begin in 2026. Ford will have the option to further expand its battery capacity plant. The company has said it plans to deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 EVs globally by the end of 2023, and 2 million EVs globally by 2026, and this plant is one step in the process of achieving its objective.

Although the plant is wholly owned by Ford, it is working with China’s CATL to produce the LFP batteries. The company said it will manufacture the battery cells using LFP battery cell knowledge and services offered by CATL.

This is significant since at the beginning of this year Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin thwarted a planned Ford and CATL battery plant in Virginia, claiming it was a ‘‘Trojan Horse’’ for China that would undermine U.S. interests. Gov. Youngkin, a former co-CEO of private equity giant Carlyle Group, was criticized by both state government leaders and businesses for obstructing the agreement.

Ford said it is adding the LFP batteries to its line-up in the coming months, starting with the Mustang Mach-E, Jim Farley, CEO of Ford said during a press conference on Monday. Ford said that CATL would supply LFP battery packs for the Mach-E SUVs in North America starting in 2023 followed by the F-150 Lightning pickups at the beginning of 2024.

The company’s decision to manufacture LFP batteries in the United States is part of a trend among automakers to embrace this oldest, cheaper, and safer technology. For instance, Tesla already uses LFP batteries in the EVs it makes and sells in China.

China has owned the LFP market for nearly a decade due to an agreement with a consortium of universities in the U.S. and Canada that hold patents on the technology. But that is poised to change as access to patents opens and the cost of battery materials rises.

Brand-new battery chemistries like nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) and nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) have the advantage of higher energy density that enhances the range of their batteries. Nevertheless, LFP doesn’t use scarce raw materials like cobalt and nickel, making them lower and less likely to catch fire. Those advantages have become more attractive to automakers as they pursue offering more affordable EVs while maintaining or even enhancing profit margins.

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