Ford pauses LFP battery manufacturing unit touted as key for inexpensive EVs

Ford has confirmed that it’s halting development of a $3.5 million battery plant in Michigan that the automaker had targeted on simply months earlier as a key for EV affordability. 

The plant, close to Marshall, Michigan, was as a consequence of create about 2,500 jobs and make lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are usually less expensive to supply than the nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries that Ford presently makes use of in its EVs. When the plant was introduced, in February, Ford mentioned that the plant would make “one of many lowest-cost U.S.-produced batteries.”

That mentioned, the price of producing these cells seems to be on the core of Ford’s choice to carry off. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E at Tesla Supercharger

Ford Mustang Mach-E at Tesla Supercharger

“We’re pausing work and limiting spending on development on the Marshall mission whereas we reassess the enterprise choice, to be assured about our capability to competitively function the plant,” said Ford company spokesperson T.R. Reid, in a response to Inexperienced Automotive Experiences late Monday, after information of the halt unfold through social media and a report from The Detroit News

“There are a variety of issues,” summed Reid, in the remainder of the assertion to GCR. “We haven’t made any remaining choice in regards to the deliberate funding.”

Ford wouldn’t say to the Detroit Information whether or not the choice had any connection to the present UAW strike, however on Tuesday, President Biden is because of assist rally putting employees in Michigan. 

Different elements which will have had a job within the choice along with prices or labor embody a reliance on China for licensing of the expertise. The plant was, nevertheless, as a consequence of be owned and run solely by Ford. 

Ford comparing NCM and LFP battery types

Ford evaluating NCM and LFP battery sorts

Ford LFP battery benefits

Ford LFP battery advantages

As Ford mentioned on the time of the announcement, LFP batteries boast many benefits. They assist strengthen the provision chain as they put a lighter burden on some high-demand, high-cost supplies, whereas they are often charged from 0-100% every day, and so they’re additionally the popular alternative for bidirectional charging. Then again, they are often sluggish to cost in very chilly climate, and so they’re barely heavier than NCM tech. 

Tesla has been placing LFP cells within the Mannequin 3 Customary Vary since late 2021, and so they’ve been fairly well-received by homeowners. 

Ford LFP product introductions

Ford LFP product introductions

The choice, Ford summed, was knowledgeable by each car use information and bottom-line price, and that LFP batteries have been certain for the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning. 

LFP Mach-E deliveries are anticipated to begin later this yr. Whereas base variations of the Tesla Mannequin 3 with LFP cells handle eligibility for the total $7,500 quantity of the EV tax credit score, variations Ford Mustang Mach-E with a LFP battery pack will qualify for a similar $3,750 EV tax credit score quantity as different present Mach-E Prolonged Vary fashions.