Ford will refurbish an existing 270,000-square-foot facility, which will house up to 200 engineers, researchers, purchasing and finance leaders. The facility will feature "world-class pilot-scale equipment for electrode, cell and array design and manufacturing engineering and innovation."
The new collaborative learning lab, dubbed Ford Ion Park, represents $100 million of the automaker's total $185 million investment in developing, testing and building electric vehicle battery cells and cell arrays. It is also part of the company's $30 billion investment in electrification by 2025.
"Ford already is delivering on our plan to lead the electric revolution with strong new vehicles including Mustang Mach-E, 2022 E-Transit available late 2021 and the 2022 F-150 Lightning available from spring next year," Ford Ion Park director Anand Sankaran said in a statement. "The new lab will help Ford speed up the battery development process to deliver even more capable, affordable batteries and is part of Ford’s renewed commitment to making Michigan a centerpiece of its focus on EVs."
The latest investment comes after Ford announced that its new all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck will be assembled at its Rogue Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, adding 500 new direct jobs.
In May, Ford also renamed its Van Dyle Transmission Plant to the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center and said it would expand its production line to produce electric motors and electric transaxles for hybrid and fully electric vehicles, retaining a total of 225 Michigan jobs.
"Ford’s investment in battery research and development in Romulus will support hundreds of good-paying jobs, attract innovative talent to Michigan, and help us continue leading the world in advanced mobility and manufacturing," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Ford is an American icon that has left its mark on the world over a century, and with the research that will take place at Ford Ion Park, they will shape the next century while reducing emissions and accelerating electrification."
In June, Ford's sales of electrified vehicles increased 117% for the month and set a half-year record of 56,570 vehicles. Meanwhile, Ford's overall vehicle sales for the month plummeted 26.9% year-over-year as the auto industry continues to feel the pain from an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage.
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Ford will offer a full picture of its second quarter earnings for 2021 on Wednesday.