Michigan Emerges as a Leader in Battery R&D as Governor Whitmer Announces Support for Ford’s Global Battery Center of Excellence in Romulus

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Ford Ion Park to be located in Romulus, locate 200 full time engineers at the site

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today joined Ford Motor Company and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to announce support from the Michigan Strategic Fund for Ford’s new global battery center of excellence securing its location in Romulus and helping to drive momentum as the state continues to emerge as an electric vehicle R&D and manufacturing leader.

“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,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “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. This investment will help us continue our economic jumpstart and help us build back stronger than ever.”

Ford has proposed to invest approximately $100 million to create a state-of-the-art battery research facility at an existing facility in Romulus. This investment would include the purchase and renovation of the existing building on the site to support product development and manufacturing process research related to vehicle battery applications. Approximately 200 full time engineers are expected to be located at the facility on or within 18 months of completion of renovation.

“We are thankful for the support of the MEDC and the Michigan Strategic Fund in helping establish Ford Ion Park in Romulus,” said Anand Sankaran, Ford Ion Park director. “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.”

To support this investment, the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a transfer of the existing Renaissance Zone to Ford. Today's action allows the company to utilize the Renaissance Zone support for the remaining four years of the designation. The Zone has been in effect since January 1, 2011 and is set to expire December 31, 2025. Renaissance Zones are utilized to encourage new jobs and investment by providing a market-based incentive of reduced state and local taxes.

The new collaborative learning lab will use state-of-the-art technology to pilot new manufacturing techniques that will allow Ford to research and quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials as part of its plan to vertically integrates battery cells and batteries.

From mines to recycling, the Ford Ion Park team is working with experts across the company, including experts at Ford’s previously announced Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory, Ford Customer Service Division, plus key suppliers and partners.

Since December of 2019, Ford has announced nearly $2.5 billion in investment in Michigan largely around electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing. They also represent more than 3,700 new jobs for Michigan’s manufacturing workforce.

In 2010, Ford committed to making Michigan its center of excellence for electric vehicles and chose the lab’s Romulus location with collaboration and expedited tech sharing in mind.

As part of Ford’s $30 billion investment in electrification by 2025, and a renewed commitment to making Michigan a centerpiece of it focus on EVs, the company also committed to assemble its all-new, all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning, with foreign and domestic parts, at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Mich. adding 500 new jobs with the support of the Good Jobs for Michigan Program. Ford also repositioned its half-century-old Van Dyke Transmission Plant in May – renaming it the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center and expanding its production line to produce electric motors and electric transaxles for hybrid and fully electric vehicles, retaining a total of 225 Michigan jobs.

Ford is also transforming the historic, Michigan Central Station and several adjacent properties in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood into an innovation district and open platform to redefine the future of transportation and pave the way for the connected, autonomous and electrified world ahead. Projects like these, in partnership with the efforts of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, ensure Michigan remains at the forefront of groundbreaking innovation and the home for economic opportunity.

“Michigan has the expertise and collaborative ecosystem to ensure companies can innovate and develop future transportation solutions and then bring those solutions to life with a workforce that builds and assembles the best vehicles driving the roads today,” said Quentin Messer, Jr. CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “Ford’s global battery center of excellence demonstrates the strength of the talent in the state’s R&D and automotive sectors and will ensure we can win the future mobility and EV manufacturing right here in Michigan.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.