That’s Rich: China Wary Of Ford’s $3.5B Michigan Battery Factory With CATL
China is concerned that Ford could get access to CATL’s advanced lithium iron phosphate technologies
February 20, 2023 at 07:20
by Brad Anderson
China will keep a close eye on Ford’s partnership with Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and make sure the battery giant’s technology isn’t handed over to its U.S. partner.
Last week, Ford announced that it will build an electric vehicle battery plant worth $3.5 billion in the city of Marshall, Michigan. The facility will produce lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries using CATL’s technologies. Ford has been keen to point out since the announcement that it will independently own the factory and that CATL’s involvement will be limited to being a “contractual service provider and licensor of technology.”
Nevertheless, the Chinese government is said to be concerned that aspects of CATL’s industry-leading technology could be given to or accessed by Ford.
Read: Ford Opening $3.5B Michigan Battery Plant With Chinese Tech
Speaking with Bloomberg, unnamed sources claimed that senior Chinese leaders have asked for extra scrutiny on the deal and that findings will be presented to members of the country’s top leadership. It is understood that China is keeping an extra close eye on the deal because of its significance and because of how it could impact U.S.-China relations.
Chinese officials have not commented on the reports but Ford said it is “not aware of any outreach by Chinese government officials on this matter.”
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Bloomberg adds that there is concern that the deal between Ford and CATL provides a template for how American car manufacturers can benefit from local tax advantages while using Chinese battery technology. Virginia’s Governor recently pulled the state out of contention for Ford’s factory, claiming that it was a “Trojan horse” for the Chinese communist party.
Ford says using LFP battery technology will allow it to produce more EVs at a lower overall cost. It also asserts that these batteries can “withstand more frequent and faster charging while using fewer high-demand, high-cost materials.”