Last week, Ford Motor Company announced plans to build a new $3.5 billion battery plant that will produce LFP cells using technology licensed from China's CATL.

While the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan facility won't start production before 2026, Ford has announced it will start using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its EVs as early as this year.

The first model to get LFP batteries is the Mustang Mach-E, albeit only in Europe for the time being. The F-150 Lightning will also gain LFP batteries in 2024 in key global markets with a goal of reducing wait times for customers. The automaker did not reveal battery capacities, range, and charging times. It didn't name the supplier either, but various reports claim it's CATL.

Ford says the move is part of its "commitment to making EVs more affordable and accessible to customers." The company's strategy is to diversify and localise its battery supply chain in the regions where it builds EVs in order to improve availability and affordability for customers while strengthening consumer demand.

As the automaker scales EV production, introducing LFP batteries allows it to build more electric vehicles and offer more choices to new customers. 

Gallery: Ford Mustang Mach-E GT (2021) Test

The new LFP battery chemistry won't replace the nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) chemistry as both will be offered in parallel. Ford says this will allow customers to choose an EV "with unique battery performance characteristics most aligned with their needs."

According to Ford, LFP batteries will also help it maintain or further reduce EV prices for consumers as these batteries use fewer high-demand, high-cost materials, are very durable and tolerate more frequent and faster charging.

In the future, LFP batteries will power a variety of affordable, next-generation Ford EV passenger vehicles and trucks under development, the automaker says.

"Ford's electric vehicle line-up has generated huge demand. We're delivering on our commitments as we scale LFP and NCM batteries and thousands, and soon millions, of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting-edge, durable battery technologies that are growing more affordable over time."

Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO

Ford says LFP battery tech also helps reduce reliance on critical minerals such as nickel and cobalt. The Blue Oval is working to deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 electric vehicles globally by the end of this year and 2 million worldwide by the end of 2026 as part of its Ford+ plan. To make that happen, the carmaker will invest over $50 billion in EVs globally through 2026.