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May 3, 2021 2:00 PM, EDT

Ford Boosts Investment in Solid-State Battery Maker

Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. (Dreamstime/TNS)Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. (Dreamstime/Tribune Content Agency)

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Ford Motor Co. announced May 3 it is increasing its investment in a producer of solid-state batteries, yet another move in the automaker’s push to establish a sustainable supply of the components needed to power a coming wave of electric vehicles.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker joins German automaker BMW AG in contributing to a $130 million Series B funding round in Solid Power, a Colorado-based battery maker. Ford initially invested in the company in 2019. The latest investments make Ford and BMW equal equity owners; representatives from both companies will join Solid Power’s board.

The move is aimed at accelerating the development of solid-state battery technology, an emerging development that industry experts and leaders believe has the potential to reduce the cost of EVs and improve their battery range. Solid-state batteries are seen as a promising alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing in it directly as well as accelerating Ford’s in-house R&D on next-generation battery technology,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of the Blue Oval announcing last week that it will build a $185 million, 200,000-square-foot global battery center — dubbed Ford Ion Park — somewhere in southeast Michigan. There, some 150 experts in battery technology development, research, manufacturing, planning, purchasing, quality and finance will work on projects aimed at speeding up Ford’s research and development of battery and battery cell technology.

Company officials said the Ion Park team’s work could support Ford one day manufacturing its own battery cells and batteries. The team will develop, test and build battery cells and cell arrays, focusing on lithium-ion batteries but looking also at solid-state technology. The center is slated to open late next year.

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