As it faces an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that has seriously hampered production, Ford is well aware of the many problems stemming from other imported parts. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact not only on automakers’ own production efforts but also the suppliers that provide them with parts needed to build vehicles. One thing in particular that concerns Ford CEO Jim Farley is EV battery production, which currently takes place mostly outside the U.S.
“We need to bring large-scale battery production to the U.S., and we’ll be talking to the government about that, CEO Jim Farley said while speaking at the Wolfe Research Auto Conference. “We can’t go through what we’re doing with chips right now with Taiwan. It’s just too important.”
SK Innovation, Ford’s battery supplier for the forthcoming Ford F-150 BEV, recently lost an intellectual property lawsuit against its rival, LG Chem. As a result, the International Trade Commission banned SK from importing batteries to the U.S. for ten years, though it will be allowed to import components that will be used in the F-150 BEV for the next four years.
Last summer, Ford was adamant that it would continue to source its EV batteries from suppliers rather than making them in-house. However, just a few months later, Farley admitted that the automaker was looking into EV battery production, something that General Motors, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Daimler have all invested in.
It’s unclear if Farley intends to move forward with these plans, or if the automaker is pushing for more EV battery suppliers to set up shop in the U.S., as SK Innovation was attempting to do before its legal battle halted those plans. Regardless, it’s clear that Ford is well aware of the potential problems importing these parts can cause moving forward, especially as it ramps up EV production.