DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – Despite cancellation of the House and Senate sessions Wednesday, the Appropriations Committee held its meeting to hear testimonies from Ford Executives and other experts regarding plans for the Blue Oval EV Battery Power Plant plans for the Marshall area. 

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Requests for the site preparation costs came out to $750 million, which would go towards the planned $3.5 billion battery plant development.  

One of the first questions that representatives asked was how the project was going to deal with supply chain challenges.  

“This facility built here in Michigan is going to give us the capability of building Lithium Phosphate batteries here in the United States here in Michigan, instead of having to import those components from other countries,” Chris Smith Chief Government Operations Officer Ford Motor Company said. 

Representative Ken Borton (R-Gaylord) inquired about involvement of the Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) in the project and if it would be a minority partner or share a financial investment in the operation of BlueOval, and is the contract between Ford and CATL open for review. 

“The plant is going to be fully owned by a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, so this will be an American investment made in Michigan,” Smith said, “There aren’t going to be any foreign partners, our relationship with CATL will be as a technical service provider.  They are going to be providing technical services for the project; the project is going to be owned, operated, and run by a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company making batteries that are going to be installed in Ford vehicles.”  

When asked to clarify the contract between Ford and CATL, Smith admitted that the contract was still under negotiations and was still under review so a contract was not available to share, but he reiterated that there is not a partnership between Ford and CATL, but rather they were a technical service provider.  

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Marshall City Manager Derek Perry also provided some brief remarks telling the committee that Marshall was “at the crossroads of Michigan” and has suffered from losing residents over the past decade. 

“We need jobs like this, we need a major regional state employer to provide those jobs for our small town America.  Speaking with the residents of the community, the small business owners recognize that things have changed over time,” Perry later added, “It just feels like we are kinda in a pause, and they are looking for something that will break that pause and bring renewed economic benefit to our city and our region and our state.  Our community supports this and they need your support to make this happen.” 

Smith added that Ford also wants to be active in the community and make investments besides that of jobs. 

“As we think about this site in Marshall, we are working closely with Derek and his team,” Smith said, “We’ve got a 450-acre conservation easement that we’ve put aside to ensure that we are not only building a plant that’s creating jobs and economic activity, but we’re also preserving, conserving some of the existing character of that area for recreation of the people who live in work there in Marshall.  So the jobs is a big part of it, but a big multiplier for us in that economic activity  is making sure we’re creating a place where people want to live and work.”  

Representative Ann Bollin (R-Brighton) sought answers about how the power grid would provide for the plant considering the number of power outages have doubled from 2020 to 2021. 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Quentin Messer fielded the question, ensuring that he and his team have been working with their local utility providers to make sure there was grid reliability and that they were “confident” that during the transition to cleaner energy that the grid could support more use.