In addition to already doing things like opening a battery test lab last year in Allen Park, Michigan, and slapping the Mustang name onto the all-electric Mach-E crossover, Ford is going even more in on electrification with today's announcement that it will open a new research and development facility dedicated to battery tech in southeast Michigan. It will be called Ford Ion Park.
The company says it's all part of its ploy to eventually vertically integrate battery development, meaning the company will no longer rely on third-party battery suppliers, opting instead to engineer and manufacture the stuff in-house. Said to involve both lithium-ion as well as smaller, liquid-less solid-state batteries, this move will apparently make for more, better, and less expensive future Ford EVs.
Ford Ion Park will be the central workplace for 150 employees, a team that will work to tailor Ford's batteries to suit the wide variety of use cases such as daily commuting, fleet delivery, and, of course, high-performance driving.
“We are creating new tools and solutions we need for a carbon-free, affordable and better future,” Ford's chief product platform and operations officer Hau Thai-Tang said. “We are modernizing Ford’s battery development and manufacturing capabilities so we can better control costs and production variables in-house and scale production around the world with speed and quality.”
Separately, Ford is also opening up a $185 million, 200,000 square-foot "learning lab" in 2022 that will engineer, test, and assemble batteries used in electrified Fords. This lab will also be located in southeast Michigan.
To recap, Ford has already launched the aforementioned Mustang Mach-E, is currently gearing up to start selling the E-Transit van later this year, and is scheduled to reveal the much-talked-about all-electric F-150 pickup sometime in mid-2022. If the openings of Ford Ion Park and the new learning lab are any indications, expect a lot more electrified Fords to join these in the relatively near future.
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