Ford to Build $3.5 Billion Battery Plant in Michigan

The plant will manufacture lithium iron phosphate batteries, which could lead to a lower price point for Ford’s EVs.

February 14, 2023

DETROIT—Ford is building an electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, investing $3.5 billion in the initiative. The plant will create lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which use less high-demand, high-cost materials.

“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 Bill Ford, Ford executive chair, in a statement.

Ford is collaborating with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) on the new battery plant; however, Ford will own the new facility through a wholly-owned subsidiary instead of operating it as a joint venture with CATL, Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president of EV industrialization, told CNBC.

“The LFP technology is already here in the United States. It’s in a lot of consumer electronics devices, it’s actually in another OEM product, but, unfortunately, it’s always imported,” Drake said during a media call. “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.”

According to Ford, the LFP batteries will help Ford contain or further reduce EV prices for customers due to LFP’s lower cost.

“Ford’s electric vehicle lineup has generated huge demand. To get as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, we’re the first automaker to commit to build both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO, in a statement. Farley also said that the batteries are among the least expensive to make and will result in larger profits for the company.

Before the new battery plant opens, Ford plans to introduce LFP batteries on Mustang Mach-E this year and F-150 Lightning in 2024 to increase production capacity and reduce wait times for customers.

Once the battery plant is online, Ford’s electric vehicles should qualify for half of the up to $7,500 federal tax incentives for consumers purchasing an EV. According to Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer, Ford Model e, the vehicles will meet the production requirements but not the material sourcing criteria for its batteries.

The battery plant is planned to open in 2026 and will create 2,500 jobs. Ford also has EV battery plants in the works through a partnership with LG Energy Solution and South Korea-based SK. The company has a joint venture for lithium-ion battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky, which should open in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

Ford says it and its battery partners have announced $17.6 billion in investments in electric vehicle and battery production in the United States since 2019. The company plans to produce 600,000 EVs globally by the end of this year and up its capacity to 2 million globally by the end of 2026.

In 2022, electric vehicles accounted for 10% of global new car sales, totaling 7.8 million units, led by strong EV adoption in China and Europe. EV sales in the U.S. still only make up a small fraction of new vehicle sales at 5.8%.

Because these EV owners will have time on their hands to spend at c-stores while their vehicles recharge, some retail experts say that c-stores may be required to change their formats. Here are five things c-stores can offer waiting EV customers.

For convenience retailers looking to bring EV charging to their locations, NACS launched the EV Infrastructure Matchmaking Tool, which connects retailers with EV charging companies for all aspects and stages of offering electric vehicle supply equipment.

NACS also offers the EV Charging Calculator, which allows retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchases.