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Ford EV Battery Plant Efforts Nixed By Virginia Governor

The ongoing pivot to battery electric vehicles requires either extensive investments into preexisting assembly facilities or the construction of entirely new sites that can manufacture EV components. Such efforts are not mutually exclusive, as the Ford EV framework currently rests on rehabilitating factories like the Cologne Assembly plant into pure EV production sites and the creation of sprawling properties like BlueOval City in Tennessee and BlueOval SK  in Kentucky. As Ford Authority previously detailed, FoMoCo is currently looking to build least one additional battery plant in North America with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), with several locations rumored to be in the running. However, per the Virginia Mercury, that state has rejected plans to host one such facility.

Governor Glenn Youngkin told reporters that his administration “felt that the right thing to do was to not recruit Ford as a front for China to America.” That flat out rejection could increase the chances of Michigan becoming the latest state to welcome an all-new automotive manufacturing facility, although Mexico remains a possibility for the battery plant. However, the Inflation Reduction Act provides tax benefits for companies looking to build within the United States, and Ford CEO Jim Farley has explicitly said that the legislation is a boon for the automaker and its partners.

In any event, Ford publicly announced it signed a memorandum of understanding with CATL to explore options for a North American battery plant last summer, and the facility is projected to output 40GWh of cell production when it comes online in 2026. While details about said plant have not been officially disclosed, CATL would retain ownership of the cell technology while Ford would own the physical property and its infrastructure. The plant would produce lithium phosphate batteries, which are cheaper than traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Ford has partnered with CATL for batteries in China and will also expand its relationship with the company for European production as well. Currently, The Blue Oval has several battery suppliers, including BYD, LG, SK On. LG provides batteries for the Ford E-Transit and Ford Mustang Mach-E, while SK On is currently the sole provider of batteries for the Ford F-150 Lightning. BlueOval SK is the joint-venture operation that Ford and SK established for the BlueOval SK and BlueOval City manufacturing sites in the United States.

These moves are the latest developments towards Ford’s goal of a 600K EV production run rate by 2024 and a two million run rate by 2026. The pivot is part of a $50 billion plan that will see the company largely transition away from gasoline vehicles by 2030.

We’ll have more on Ford’s EV push soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for comprehensive Ford news updates.

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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Comments

  1. David Dickinson

    The cited source says, “Youngkin later told reporters that his prior role as co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that has invested extensively in China, made him “uniquely positioned to understand how the Chinese Communist Party works.” “I understand what they’re doing,” he said. “They have one objective: global dominance at the expense of the United States.” 

    Next question. Why is Ford helping the Chinese Communist Party?

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      By your logic, why was Carlyle and why was Youngkin making any business there? As co-CEO Younkin could have pushed for a no-China strategy. But he didn’t, why?

      As to your question, Realpolitik. Ford aren’t helping the CCP per-se, they are diversifying their battery supply base as any smart company, like Carlyle, like Youngkin, would do if in Ford’s position.

      Note, Ford owns the facility, and as soon as Ford has its own design and chemistry IP, it will be in a position to take over 100%.

      Reply
    2. Davido49

      This is a foolish trolling statement & huge loss to VA for battery assembly plant. Ford works w/5 battery producers at least. Other automakers also work w/ many battery suppliers including some that are China based. Its the way of the global supply chain. Does the VA governor also ask Walmart to not operate in his state?

      Reply
  2. Peeturd

    Anyone obtaining technology from any where and bringing it to the US is a win!! This is exactly what China did for the last 40 years and look how it has benefited their economy. Ford is doing the right thing. Too bad Virginia’s governor is only concerned with short term headlines – the people of Virginia will be the losers.

    Reply
    1. Davido49

      Exactly.. & well said! Similar to my response. Many trolls on here unfortunately as they prob work for a competing automaker jealous of Fords success w/new advancing technologies.

      Reply
      1. S GORDON

        While the plant was ostensibly owned by the Ford Motor Company, it would have been run by a Chinese company, Contemporary Amperex Technology, which also would have owned “the technology used in building the battery cells,” the Virginia Mercury reported. Youngkin said Wednesday that he’d halted plans to build the factory.

        T

        Reply
  3. Dennis

    Why ? Is the fed using taxpayer money to grant and provide tax incentives ( then raises the prices) for EV’s if they are so great? Farley seems to want help from the feds to push this. Ford refused a bailout when GM and Chrysler took a bailout before. I supported Ford for that, buying 2 more F-150’s. No more Fords for me. Now they are tearing up the planet to mine materials for batteries while we have the resources for clean fuel right here. This is insane to me.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      1. Technology transition incubation.
      2. Ford saw the future and moved fast to be in a position to lead. That’s not a vice that’s a virtue.
      3. What do you mean “clean fuel right here”?

      Reply
    2. Davido49

      Your thought process is illogical at best. There is no more American automaker than Ford Motor! Most direct US jobs & largest US investment of any automakes. Just Google “blue oval city” as an example. If you choose to buy inferior trucks going fwd that’s your choice.

      Reply
  4. Dave Mathers

    Politicians have been the chief promoters of EVs and car makers have been dragged kicking and screaming into that equation. The reasoning for this refusal is definitely head-scratching. But, hey, my city of St. Thomas, Ontario recently bought up an 800 acre tract of land so Ford, ‘come on down’!! We’d love to have you and yes, we have a highly successful history with Ford – the St. Thomas Assembly Plant was here from 1967 to 2011.

    Reply
    1. S GORDON

      ELECTRIC CARS WILL BE A FLASH IN THE PAN. THE MINING OF MATERIALS BORDERS ON SLAVERY! WE SHOULD BE EMBRACING HYDROGEN FUEL. MOST OF THE EXISTING FLEET COULD BE CONVERTED!

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Nonsense. The existing fleet will never be converted.

        Hey aren’t that guy that said you were going to convert his own truck to hydrogen?

        Don’t you realize that most hydrogen isn’t green and even electrolytic hydrogen involves many more cumbersome and unnecessary production and distribution steps than just charging a battery does?

        Also, the slavery comment is pure stupidity.

        Reply
  5. Dean Smith

    I’ll purchase an EV when I get the same utility for the same value as an ICE. Have you heard about the hydrogen engine that Yamaha developed for Toyota? 5.0L with 475 horse power. EV will never replace the pure joy and the throaty roar of going through the gears in my Mustang GT.

    Reply
    1. Reply
      1. RWFA

        Except that’s not how most hydrogen is produced.

        Toyota has entered into an agreement to produce hydrogen from coal in Australia and then ship the H2 to Japan.

        That’s not particularly green.

        Reply
    2. RWFA

      I suppose you will find something to like once the roar dies away, I’m sure your neighbors will like it too.

      Reply
    3. Davido49

      Yoda is far behind all new, emerging technologies ..this is well known in auto industry. Hydrogen won’t be a primary new evergy source for vehicles. Every automaker has worked on this including Ford w/ tri-fuel truck that got accolades & awards. Hydrogen is dangerous plain & simple.

      Reply
  6. Jon in San Diego

    Virginia’s loss. So be it. Theirs is not the only dead factory waiting to be revived. Ford’s $ multi-billion investments won’t be deterred. And I’ll continue driving my Mach-E past every single gas station. Except when I need to wash my windshield. :-). Thank you Ford for creating my awesome car!!

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Jon, any downsides to your Mach E or comparative inconveniences vs your last ICE vehicle? Glad you are enjoying it!

      Reply
      1. Davido49

        The Mach-e SUV is excellent! Reviews are very good by all & it drives & looks great. Would be at top of my list for a new EV SUV.

        Reply
    2. Davido49

      VA has nearly zero large manufacturing facilities & in my opinion deserves to stay that way w/backward thinking & illogical decision making.

      Reply
  7. Chuck

    Glad the Gov. for VA has not been drinking the Kool-Aid the rest of the China lovers have.
    It time people begin to wake up to the danger China poses to the future of America.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Except the danger to the economic well being of the people of Virginia is their own vest clad gold plated hypocritical putz of a governor hoping to use his office and the people of Virginia as a springboard for a presidential candidacy.

      Another example of the despicably stupid, bite own nose off to spite own face populism being sold by GOP.

      In the meantime, waking up to China doesn’t mean staying in thrall to Big Oil and the accelerating economic and geo political chaos that that has represented as long as all of us have been alive by stagnating on such a major technology topic.

      Inadequate national investment in basic battery design and chemistry at the research level (thanks to effective lobbying of Big Oil) has led to these foreign battery suppliers getting a leg up on the USA and we are not going to gain on that by acting like stupid small children and not taking advantage of their lead until we can catch up.

      Reply
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