Following an exhaustive search, Ford wound up settling on the small town of Marshall as the site for its newest EV battery plant, BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, where it will build lithium-iron phosphate batteries for future all-electric vehicles starting in 2026. However, the fact that FoMoCo will be licensing LFP battery technology from Chinese battery manufacturer CATL has proven to be quite controversial, prompting calls to review the deal between the two companies by both U.S. and China-based politicians, even though Ford will do the bulk of the work and own/staff the facility. Now, after calling for a review of this Ford battery licensing deal recently, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a bill that could have a big impact on it, according to Reuters.
The proposed piece of legislation would block tax credits for electric vehicles that use batteries produced using Chinese technology, even if they’re built in the U.S., with Rubio stating that it will “significantly restrict the eligibility of IRA tax credits and prevent Chinese companies from benefiting.”
The deal “will only deepen U.S. reliance on the Chinese Communist Party for battery tech, and is likely designed to make the factory eligible for Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits,” Rubio said. “It is beyond irresponsible for someone speaking on behalf of the White House to not only condone but also advocate for sending American tax dollars to Chinese companies,” added Senator Joe Manchin.
“Making those batteries here at home is much better than continuing to rely exclusively on foreign imports, like other auto companies do,” Ford said in a statement in response to this proposed bill. “A wholly owned Ford subsidiary alone will build, own, and operate this plant. No other entity will get U.S. tax dollars for this project.”