Ford is establishing a new battery research center to help accelerate its transition toward becoming an electric automaker.
Ford Ion Park will be built at a yet to be determined location in southeastern Michigan next year and initially employ 150 battery technology and industry specialists, Ford Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Hau Thai-Tang announced Tuesday.
The $185 million facility will support efforts at other engineering locations and be used to develop new lithium-ion batteries and the manufacturing processes required to bring them to production, and also to explore future solid state technologies.
It will have the capability of conducting both laboratory-scale and pilot-scale production of new designs, on which Ford will collaborate with suppliers, universities and startups, Thai-Tang said.
Ford is investing $22 billion in electrified vehicles through 2025 and has pledged to become an all-electric brand in Europe by 2030.
Unlike Tesla, General Motors and Volkswagen, Ford hasn’t confirmed a move toward in-house production of batteries for its vehicles, but Thai-Tang said Ford Ion Park will allow it to prepare and build the capability to do that when the volume of electric vehicle output makes a strong case for the capital requirement required to do so.