Ford plans to invest $50 billion in electrification with a goal of producing two million EVs annually by 2026, and to meet that goal, the automaker is leaning on a large number of suppliers from all around the globe. One of those companies is China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) – the world’s largest producer of batteries – which has been searching for a location to build a new North American-based EV battery plant with Ford in both Mexico and the U.S.
One location under consideration was the state of Virginia, but as Ford Authority reported last week, Governor Glenn Youngkin rejected those plans – citing the company’s Chinese roots – nixing a Ford EV battery plant that would have created 2,500 jobs and drawing criticism from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose state is still in consideration for the new facility. Now, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Ford had already picked Virginia as the site for that new EV battery plant prior to Youngkin’s rejection.
The proposed CATL and Ford EV plant was slated to be built at the Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill in Pittsylvania County, where it would have made lithium-iron phosphate batteries for Blue Oval models. The two companies planned to spend $3.5 billion erecting the new facility, which would have reportedly employed around 2,500 people when it began operating in a few years, with the potential for more down the road.
CATL and Ford are now seeking another location to build this new EV battery plant – a decision that is expected to happen in just a few weeks – after the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for the project last summer. The facility is expected to begin production in 2026 with an initial output of 40GWh of cell production, and would reportedly be owned by FoMoCo – at least in terms of the physical location and infrastructure – though CATL would retain ownership of the battery cell technology utilized in production.
Update: Hours after running this story, Ford reached out to the Richmond Times-Dispatch to clarify that the automaker had not yet selected a site for its planned EV battery plant. “Ford had not made a site selection decision,” company spokeswoman Melissa Miller said in a statement.