LFP Batteries: An Innovation for the Future of Autonomy and Electric Vehicles at the Ford Model e Co-electrification Plant
To be sure, the EV goals of Ford are ambitious. It will have enough battery supply for 600,000 EV by late 2023, thanks to a $50 billion investment the company has made on its electrification plans. There will be at least 2 million EV globally by the end of the year.
Congress passed the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) legislation in August to restructure how EV tax credits are allowed. The tax credits for electric vehicle purchases will depend on the battery minerals used in the US, as well as whether the vehicle was manufactured in the US.
“I think the IRA was incredibly important for us and, frankly, it did what it was intended to do,” she said. “And it allowed the United States to capture 2,500 fantastic technical jobs and all the indirect jobs that go with it plus the future growth.”
LFP batteries will be made at the plant. This is a type of battery that uses no nickel or cobalt, elements that can be difficult and expensive to extract from the earth.
In contrast, LFP batteries tend to be cheaper and longer lasting but aren’t as energy dense as NCM batteries. LFP batteries are also less complex to produce. The new factory with CATL will add approximately 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of LFP battery capacity, the company adds.
Most of today’s EVs use lithium-ion batteries whose cathodes use NCM chemistries. But NCM also has a lot of baggage, due mostly to cobalt, which has been called the “blood diamond of batteries” because it’s been mined in a way that’s endangered child workers and wrecked the environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Lisa Drake, vice President of EV industrialization at Ford model e, they are durable and tolerant of more frequent and faster DC fast charging. They perform best when charged from zero to 100 percent every now and then. That is ideal for customers who would like to drive all the way to empty and then charge quickly back to 100 percent.
Drake emphasized that the decision to add LFP batteries to its mix of EVs was partly inspired by a desire to reduce costs. “This is how we look at the recipe to create one of the lowest-cost US-produced batteries when this plant comes on line in 2026,” she said.
Comments on Ford’s Progress on a Power Plant and a Battery Facility in the South: CEO Jim Farley says “Nothing is going well with F-150”
Ford CEO Jim Farley has cited quality issues and the large number of recalls issued by his company as among the reasons why he is disappointed in Ford’s financial performance lately.
Rumors of the new factory have been swirling for months. Ford was originally looking to build it in one of the most deprived parts of Virginia, as well as other battery plants in the South. The project would have created up to 2,500 new jobs building lithium iron phosphate batteries for Ford’s electric vehicles. But Glenn Youngkin, the state’s Republican governor, rejected the project because of the involvement of CATL, citing the influence of China’s communist government.
“We are not aware of any incidents of this issue in the field and do not believe F-150 Lightnings already in customers’ hands are affected by this issue”
Battery issues have been cited in several recalls of electric vehicles over the past few years, ranging from software glitches to more serious fire risks. Chevy notably recalled its entire Bolt EV lineup after several fires were reported, resulting in a multi-month production halt.