Saturday, December 9, 2023

Ford battery plant is back on track but scaled down | CNN Business

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Ford has restarted work on an electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan, but the plant will be smaller than was originally planned.

Ford paused work at the site in late September during the United Auto Workers strike, saying at the time that the company needed to reevaluate the scope of the project. The automaker had originally planned to employ as many as 2,500 workers at the factory when the plant opened for production in 2026.

Now Ford plans to employ only about 1,700 people, the automaker announced Tuesday.

“[W}e are right-sizing as we balance investment, growth, and profitability,” Ford said in an announcement.

Last month, Ford had laid off some workers building the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck. Competitor General Motors also said it was postponing adding more production capacity for its electric Chevrolet Silverado EV citing slow-growing demand.

By producing batteries in the United States, the plant should help Ford to take advantage of EV tax credits tied, in part, to domestic battery manufacturing.

Plans called for the plant to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Co. but build batteries using “knowledge” and services from the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., or CATL. CATL is the world’s largest battery manufacturer and also supplies batteries to Tesla.

Ford is also building two battery plants in Kentucky and Tennessee. The automaker is building those plants with SK Innovations, a company based in South Korea. Ford has said it plans to be able to produce two million electric vehicles globally by late 2026.

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