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As it invests $50 billion in electrification with a goal of producing two million EVs annually by 2026, Ford is leaning on a large number of suppliers from around the globe
to secure the materials it needs to meet that lofty goal, in addition to its own-joint venture efforts. One of those companies is Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) – a Chinese outfit that’s the world’s largest producer of batteries – which has been scoping out locations for a new North American-based plant in both Mexico and the U.S. for months now. One such location 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. Now, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has criticized that decision, calling it a “political determination,” according to Detroit News.

Meanwhile, Whitmer also noted that Michigan – which remains in consideration as a potential location for the new Ford EV battery plant – would welcome such a facility with open arms, saying that it’s an “exciting opportunity” for the state. “We are focused on jobs for Michiganders and securing the future of mobility is built in Michigan by Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “We are proud that Ford is an American company, Ford is a Michigan company. We are going to compete for every opportunity for the State of Michigan.”

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 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.

We’ll have more on Ford’s EV plans soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.



By Brett Foote
Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.


 

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I would agree with others who say this is short sighted politicking. I think it wise that FoMoCo retains ownership of the physical plant; even in the few years we've had BEVs, we've seen chemical compositions change. I think it a good strategy to recognize that the chemical makeup of batteries will change again.

Near my hometown in Northeast Ohio, GM has completed construction of their joint venture battery plant almost right next door to the former GM Assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. I believe many of us will be driving BEVs in the near- and mid-term future and part of that will be enabled by products from GM in Voltage Valley.

I believe Virginia's government could take a lesson from Midwestern states on how very hard it is to recover industry once it has left. The world is far more interconnected than we have been before and we'll need to make deals with other countries in order to achieve our own goals.
 

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Talk about cutting off one's nose to spite their face. Don't get me wrong, I understand having some caution, but seeing that Ford would own the plant, what do you have to lose?
A production facility doesn't exist in a vacuum. I would assume this plant would be getting it's raw materials and sourced parts from China and be under China's thumb in any number of other ways.

You've got a nice battery plant here. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.
 

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A production facility doesn't exist in a vacuum. I would assume this plant would be getting it's raw materials and sourced parts from China and be under China's thumb in any number of other ways.

You've got a nice battery plant here. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.
Sure...thats completely possible, but money talks and China is in the business of making money. That in itself would be China cutting off its nose to spite its face.
 

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I believe Virginia's government could take a lesson from Midwestern states on how very hard it is to recover industry once it has left.
The biggest lesson both Virginia and Midwestern states should learn from this episode is that Ford and CATL are asking for millions in "incentives" aka corporate welfare at the state and local levels, above and beyond the massive subsidies they receive at the federal level for EV and EV components.

Governor Youngkin made the right call (rejecting Ford-CATL's proposal for the Pittsylvania County megasite as a potental location for their battery plant), but for the wrong reason (a hypothetical invasion of Chinese commies). Virginia's past experience with Ford's ravenous appetite for corporate welfare is reason enough for rejection. In 2002, the Commonwealth of Virginia and local governments in the Hampton Roads region gave Ford $12 million in handouts to expand its Norfolk Assembly plant, only to have Ford shutter the plant completely just five years later.
 

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Sure...thats completely possible, but money talks and China is in the business of making money. That in itself would be China cutting off its nose to spite its face.
Certainly, it could be a risky strategy for them, but having control over a key component in the US auto industry can give them quite a bit of leverage even if they do nothing "bad". But if they were to become that key link in the supply chain, and "something" happens to it (not their fault of course - wink wink) they could hobble a segment of the American auto market, and then kindly offer to sell some of their own products to fill that gap. And they still make the money.

Yes, a Chinese-owned plant in the US is quite a bit better (economically safer) than a US-owned plant in China, which they could shut down or confiscate on a whim.
 

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No one is forcing these locations to sign up, if they don’t like the desk then I’m sure that the circus will move on and find some place else. Those states opting out can spend their time counting all the money they saved by saying no….…
 
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