"Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford announces a $3.5 billion investment plan for a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, during an event held at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, Michigan, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. With this $3.5 billion investment, Ford and its battery tech collaborators have announced $17.6 billion in investments in electric vehicle and battery production and added more than 18,000 jobs in the United States since 2019." Image courtesy of Ford.

Ford 1st To Build NMC Batteries & LFP Batteries In USA

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Ford has become the #2 electric vehicle seller in the USA, but it’s also now #1 in something in the field. It’s the first automaker to state that it will produce both NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) and LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries for electric vehicles in the United States.

The Michigan-based automaker is investing a full $3.5 billion into a new LFP battery factory in Marshall, Michigan. Production is supposed to start in 2026 at “BlueOval Battery Park Michigan,” and 2,500 employees are expected to be hired in the process. The battery factory will have a production capacity of about 35 GWh once it’s up and running. That’s estimated to be enough batteries for 400,000 Ford electric cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Image courtesy of Ford.

LFP batteries have less energy density and power density than NMC batteries, but they can also be cheaper and have other benefits. For example, they can be charged to 100% without concern for battery degradation. And when you consider that NMC batteries should typically not charge above 80% (except when really needed), being able to charge daily to 100% makes a difference and makes up for any potential difference in rated range on a full charge.

Some versions of the Ford Mustang Mach-E will start using LFP batteries this year. The Ford F-150 Lightning will start using LFP batteries in some trims in 2024. Other Ford EVs will use LFP batteries, too, but the company isn’t naming them yet.

Adding LFP batteries to its EV lineup is partly about adding more consumer choice. “Offering LFP as a second battery chemistry – in addition to nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) – allows Ford customers to choose an electric vehicle with unique battery performance characteristics most aligned with their needs,” Ford writes. “LFP batteries are very durable and tolerate more frequent and faster charging while using fewer high-demand, high-cost materials. This lower-cost battery, at scale, will help Ford contain or even further reduce EV prices for customers. These LFP batteries will power a variety of affordable, next-generation Ford EV passenger vehicles and trucks under development, most of which will be assembled in the U.S.”

“Ford’s electric vehicle lineup has generated huge demand. To get as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, we’re the first automaker to commit to build both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “We’re delivering on our commitments as we scale LFP and NCM batteries and thousands, and soon millions, of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting-edge, durable battery technologies that are growing more affordable over time.”

Ford intends to reach an annual production run rate of 600,000 by the end of 2023. It plans to keep growing its EV efforts beyond this year as well in order to reach a production rate of 2 million by the end of 2026.

“Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, Michigan, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 where Ford Motor Company announced plans for a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery plant in Marshall, Michigan. Ford is investing $3.5 billion in the country’s first automaker-backed LFP battery plant, offering customers a second battery technology within Ford’s electric vehicle lineup. The plant will initially employ 2,500 workers when it opens in 2026, and Ford will have the option to further grow battery capacity in Marshall in the future.” Photo courtesy of Ford.

This $3.5 billion investment in the LFP battery factory is just a small part of a much bigger plan. Ford plans to invest more than $50 billion into the “EV revolution.” In the USA, Ford and partners have already made announcements of investments totaling $17.6 billion since 2019. These investments are estimated to create 18,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. These investments and jobs are taking place in Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The battery cells that will go into the battery packs produced in Michigan will come from China’s CATL. Ford also has battery partnerships with South Korea’s SK On (previously SK Innovation) and LG Energy Solution (previously LG Chem).

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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