Ford has revealed it will be investing $185 million towards a new battery lab, in a further step to producing its own battery cells for its lineup of electric vehicles.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Ford said it plans to construct a “pilot facility” outside of Detroit, called Ford Ion Park. The 200,000 square-foot lab will be open by the end of 2022, and will be used to develop new technologies that will eventually go towards the manufacturing of Ford’s own battery cells and batteries. However, the new facility will not be similar to the full battery cell production facilities that Tesla and General Motors have.
Currently, Ford purchases its cells from overseas suppliers, including South Korea-based SK Innovation. According to Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer Hau Thai-Tang, it continues to be economical for the company to purchase its cells from other suppliers until more consumers make the switch to EVs.
“We want to give Ford the flexibility and optionality to eventually vertically integrate and that was one of the drivers behind the creation of this battery center of excellence in Ford Ion Park,” Thai-Tang said at a media briefing on Tuesday. “It’s really for us to develop that expertise and competency in house, and give us that flexibility in the future,” he explained.
According to Thai-Tang, the US automaker will predominantly concentrate on “advancing” the next-generation of lithium-ion batteries that are used in EVs today. Ford is also eyeing the development of solid-state lithium metal batteries, which are deemed safer and more efficient compared to the cells that are currently on the market. The company is expected to employ up to 150 people for Ion Park, some of whom have already been brought on.
Information for this briefing was found via Ford. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.