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Ford F-150 Electric Battery Supplier Loses Case But Can Still Import Parts

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued its ruling on the dispute between South Korean electric vehicle battery makers LG Chem and SK Innovation and concluded that the latter company misappropriated trade secrets related to EV battery technology, per a report from Reuters. The ruling against SK means that The Blue Oval will likely have to find another battery supplier for the upcoming Ford F-150 Electric, though not necessarily immediately.

The ITC ruling allows SK to remain the Ford F-150 Electric battery supplier for four years, and until that time, the company can legally import lithium ion batteries, battery cells, battery modules, and battery packs into America for the express purpose of domestic vehicle EV production as it relates specifically to the Ford F-150. The ITC ruling also grants SK similar leeway for Volkswagen of America’s MEB electric vehicle platform, as the ID.4 is slated to use similar components, although it is only allowed to import EV components related to that program for two years.

A more stringent ruling against the Ford F-150 Electric battery supplier would have crippled Ford and VW’s electrification plans and severely affected domestic EV production in America, which is probably why the agency opted for a less impactful ruling that nonetheless operates as a punitive measure against SK. Ford had submitted a written opinion to the ITC before the agency made its decision, stating that a more adverse ruling would cause significant production setbacks and force the company to lay off workers.

LG Chem could potentially become the next Ford F-150 Electric battery supplier after SK, but it is unclear if it can produce an adequate amount of EV battery components for the automaker, as Ford rejected the company’s claims that it could do so. In any event, it seems that SK can now proceed with production at its Commerce Georgia plant later this year, as previously planned. Hopefully, that means Ford can stick to its planned mid-2022 launch for the F-150 Electric.

We’ll have more on this issue as soon as it’s available, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-150 news and 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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Written by Edward Snitkoff

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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13 Comments

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  1. We’re entering a new era of trade. When EV’s are finally the main stream, the big global companies in other countries producing batteries and mining raw materials will be no different than OPEC countries. They’ll set prices and control quantities and the auto manufacturers will be at their mercy. This country cannot go 100% EV until companies have a guarantee source of batteries and chemicals to produce batteries. EV battery production must be manufactured in the USA and ICE cannot be total abandoned. This pandemic has proven that trade can be impacted beyond our control. Thank goodness we do not have to rely on imported toilet paper.

    • Mining for lithium presents challenges no different than they do for rare earth metals needed to manufacture semiconductors. Nevertheless, places like Sierra Leone haven’t created cartels and controlled the flow of those commodities. I suspect that it won’t be much different for battery tech.

  2. All this electric vehicle/battery $h*t is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but pollute and put Americans out of work.
    Get a freakin’ clue.

      • Njia, I’m misinformed huh? Try looking for information about battery recycling. It’s treated like hazardous materials. Pollution, pure and simple.
        You don’t even have a name. How do y’all expect anyone to take y’all seriously?
        Misinformed, my @$$.

        • Fact: most EV batteries are repurposed, not recycled, and that’s after up to 10 years of use in their original vehicles. And have you ever tried recycling engine coolant? Oil and other lubricants? Not exactly “clean.” You’re misinformed. Fully.

      • Misinformed? Really? Perhaps you should spend some time on the website
        mining.com to educate yourself on the complexities of mining the elements
        needed for EV batteries. Presently, there is not enough mining capacity to
        supply the metals needed for a major shift to electric vehicles. The cost for
        opening new mines is astronomical and the costs would be passed along to
        EV buyers. The price for EVs will continue to rise, not come down. What happens
        if political circumstances in these foreign countries interrups the export of the
        metals? Just at a time when our country has become energy independent, the
        push for EVs is going to make us vulnerable to energy shortages just as the 70’s
        oil embargo.
        Having said that, what about electricity to charge all the EVs? Presently, there is
        no move underway to build new power generating plants. Solar & windmills?
        Sorry, they only make up a small portion of the electricity production.
        It would seem that there are many people pushing for the shift to EVs (including
        manufacturers) who don’t see the whole picture, or, choose to ignore it.

        • Yes, mining for lithium is expensive, complex, and the sources of supply can be (but are not always) in places that don’t like us very much. There’s another commodity I’ve heard about that we seem to use regularly and has some similar drawbacks. It’ll come to me, I’m sure.

          As for new capacity? More than 80MW planned for 2021; 85% is solar, wind, nuclear, and battery (as a storage solution). That’s a drop in the bucket compared to total U.S. capacity, but it’s a start. The new Energy Sec’y is in favor of developing new nuclear capacity, as well.

          In terms of cost, batteries have fallen about 90% over 10 years. EVs won’t necessarily be cheaper, but it’s a pipedream to think there will ever be “parity.” So, what? If OEMs are driving greater profits, at least in the short term, based on EVs, that’s a GOOD thing for the companies who are investing.

          Finally, this shift to EVs is happening over 10-15 years. That’s plenty of time to find solutions. Being closed-minded about the technology, industry, etc. should not be one of them.

          • I appreciate you being respectful and objective in your reasoning, unlike these other two jabrons! They seem to not be able to grasp that we are still in the early stages of EV development. The tech will continue to get better when innovation arises via R&D!

            • Thank you! I have found that being reactionary isn’t helpful to me or anyone else. It prevents me from learning new things and gaining new perspectives.

  3. There’s a huge opportunity to develop battery recycling industry segment. If these cells can be broken down to a point where the minerals can be recycled, this could reduce the need for mining these minerals, particularly as these battery packs become ever more popular. $$$$

    • To the earlier points, recycling is a big problem (as well as a reverse supply chain one). Currently, most batteries are re-used rather than recycled, which makes sense. About 70% of battery capacity remains after 7-10 years of continuous use, and that’s given the current “wet” electrolyte technology. Toyota is about to introduce 3 vehicles globally (2 here in the U.S.) based on its solid-state battery tech. Dendrites are the big drawbacks, but if Toyota is ready to introduce a product based on the technology, they must have figured out a way to mitigate (or at least slow) their growth.

  4. Ford’s Ontario Truck Plant is reportedly going to produce F150 EVs and there have also been reports of a couple of Canadian companies producing batteries for the project.

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