Ford to open new EV battery tech center as it pivots toward in-house production

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Ford announced Tuesday that it is building a new battery development center in southeast Michigan. Called Ion Park (or ‘Ion Park Center of Excellence’, if you want the long version), the center will house a 150-person team of experts to research and develop new battery technology as it takes steps to improve the to bring production in-house.

The Ion Park team is led by Anand Sankaran, whose portfolio includes the original Ford Escape Hybrid, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E and 2022 F-150 Hybrid. The team will partner with Ford’s existing Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory in Allen Park, Michigan, which opened late last year. There will also be a $ 185 million collaborative learning lab that will house a team responsible for experimenting with existing and future battery technology (both conventional lithium-ion and solid state), both in terms of practical applications and ‘cradle-to-grave’ feasibility.

“This world-class 200,000-square-foot learning lab will include pilot-scale equipment for the design and fabrication of electrodes, cells and arrays, and will use the very latest technology to test new manufacturing techniques that will enable Ford to quickly break through. materials once the company vertically integrates battery cells and batteries, ”said Ford.

That’s right. Ford is fully committed to getting into the battery manufacturing game, although the company noted in its announcement that the Ion Park team will work with existing suppliers through the battery lab and new learning lab, although it did not specify which ones. The Mustang Mach-E’s batteries are supplied by LG Chem.

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“We’re creating new tools and solutions we need for a carbon-free, affordable and better future,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s flagship product platform and operations. “We are modernizing Ford’s battery development and manufacturing capabilities so that we can better control costs and production variables internally and scale production around the world quickly and with quality.”