Back in February, the latest Ford EV battery plant was announced – BlueOval Battery Park Michigan – as a site where the automaker plans to build lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries using technology licensed from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL). However, amid the UAW strike and weakened demand for EVs, Ford paused construction at the future plant in late September before announcing that it was planning on delaying or even canceling plans to invest around $12 billion in EVs – a development that included BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, putting its future squarely in doubt. Now, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Ford will proceed with its plans to erect this facility, albeit with fewer workers and less output.
“While we remain bullish on our long-term strategy for electric vehicles, we are re-timing and resizing some investments,” the automaker said in a statement. “As stated previously, we have been evaluating BlueOval Battery Park Michigan in Marshall. We are pleased to confirm we are moving ahead with the Marshall project, consistent with the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation. However, we are right-sizing as we balance investment, growth, and profitability. The facility will now create more than 1,700 good-paying American jobs to produce a planned capacity of approximately 20 GWh. We still expect BlueOval Battery Park Michigan to be the first of Ford’s battery plants of this kind when it begins producing LFP battery cells starting in 2026.”
Originally, the Ford EV battery plant based in Michigan was slated to employ 2,500 people, with an annual output of 35 gigawatt hours, so this represents a bit of a reduction in that regard. This announcement also comes on the heels of the automaker’s decision to only utilize one of two under-construction EV battery plants at the future BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky and nix plans to build a joint-venture EV battery plant in Turkey, too.
BlueOval Battery Park Michigan has faced its fair share of criticism from lawmakers (and its chief rival, GM) concerned with CATL’s Chinese roots, as well as citizens in Marshall who are worried about the potential environmental impacts of such a facility. Regardless, Ford CEO Jim Farley has been adamant from the start that CATL is only licensing technology to the automaker and won’t have any other involvement in the plant.