As a major component of its massive investment in EVs and plans to greatly expand its all-electric lineup, Ford has also been working on converting many of its existing production facilities to build EVs and the electric motors and batteries that power them. In Europe, that includes the Cologne Assembly plant in Germany, the Valencia Assembly plant in Spain, and the Halewood Transmission plant in the UK, the latter of which will build EV power units following a recent $150 million dollar investment. Now, these projects are getting a boost in the form of a new partnership with Ionic Technologies, which is teaming up with The Blue Oval to beef up the EV supply chain.
Ionic is partnering with both Ford and and Less Common Metals (LCM) as the trio aim to develop a supply chain for recycled magnet rare earths to magnets in the UK. The group is also teaming up with with the British Geological Survey to complete a feasibility study and supply chain analysis for a magnet recycling facility that would be based in the UK, while both of these programs have already secured funding from the UK government, to boot.
As for Ford, the automaker will help support Ionic’s mission to improve rare earth element separation and the recycling of spent permanent Neodymium-Iron-Boron (NdFeB) magnets, which will help buoy its production efforts. For example, the Halewood plant is expected to produce roughly 500,000 power units per year by 2026, which will require 600 tons of magnet raw material per annum to achieve. The automaker plans to test the performance of the magnets that arise from this project to determine their viability.
“We are harnessing our technology to accelerate mining, refining, and recycling of magnet and heavy rare earths critical for energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defense,” said Ionic Rare Earth’s Managing Director, Tim Harrison. “The other CLIMATES grant would see Ionic Technologies develop the business case and potential scale up of a commercial magnet recycling facility in Belfast, in partnership with British Geological Survey.”