Michigan Strategic Fund OKs $1 billion in aid for $3.5 billion Ford battery plant

Candice Williams

The Detroit News

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved an incentive package Monday worth more than $1 billion to support Ford Motor Co.’s multibillion-dollar investment to build an electric-vehicle battery plant in Calhoun County.

Ford officials said the company expects to invest $3.5 billion to construct the battery plant, called “Blue Oval Battery Park Michigan.” The plant will employ 2,500 people with pay ranging from $20 to $50 an hour.

The approved incentives include a grant of up to $210 million from the state’s Critical Industries Program and a Michigan Strategic Fund Designated Renaissance Zone valued at $772 million that will reduce real and personal property taxes for 15 years. The $210 million will come from the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve, or SOAR, fund.

The board also approved a request from the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, or MAEDA, for a $36 million Michigan Investment Fund MSF Loan to “purchase, improve and convey” Marshall site parcels in and around Calhoun County.

Last year the No. 2 seller of electric vehicles in the United States, Ford plans to build a 2.5 million-square-foot facility in Marshall in its effort to produce 2 million electric vehicles by 2026.

“Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology is important because it results in batteries that are exceptionally durable and use fewer high-demand, high-cost materials, ultimately making EVs more accessible and affordable for customers,” Gabby Bruno, Ford’s director of economic development, said during the board meeting. “This project reflects our commitment to electrification and will support our plan to reach an annual run rate of 2 million EVs globally by the end of 2026.”

The battery plant will be run by a Ford subsidiary, Bruno added, and is not a joint venture with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., or CATL, the world’s leading LFP battery maker. Under a licensing agreement with the China-based company, Ford will build the plant in Marshall, own the land, employ the workforce and integrate the new battery technology in into new electric vehicles.

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“The Ford subsidiary will have full control of this plant,” she said. “In addition, despite again what has been circulating, I can tell you that there was no lack of competition for this project. Michigan competed against numerous states and countries to win this investment, in large part because of strong economic development tools like the ones we are discussing here today.

“Creating quality jobs that support our communities and Michigan residents requires collaboration and partnership. These jobs and investments wouldn’t be possible without the support of state and local government.”