MARSHALL, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – After a two month pause for construction on the EV battery plant in Marshall Michigan, Ford announced that it would be proceeding, with some big changes. 

“While we remain bullish on our long-term strategy for electric vehicles, we are re-timing and resizing some investments,” the Dearborn based company said in a statement. “As stated previously, we have been evaluating BlueOval Battery Park Michigan in Marshall.”

MORE NEWS: Illegal Mexican National Charged with Home Invasion and Sexual Assault in St. Joseph County

Amidst strikes from the United Auto Workers, which lasted 41 days, Ford chose to temporarily halt operations, but announced Tuesday its plan to continue with operations and reduce its capacity from the projected 35 gigawatt-hour (GWh). 

“We are pleased to confirm we are moving ahead with the Marshall project, consistent with the Ford+ plan for growth and value creation,” Ford announced. “However, we are right-sizing as we balance investment, growth, and profitability. The facility will now create more than 1,700 good-paying American jobs to produce a planned capacity of approximately 20 GWh.” 

Ford will be working with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), which would help provide technology and workers to make lithium-iron phosphate batteries.  Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been a supporter of the project advocating for more jobs in the state as well as reducing reliance on foreign countries for supply chains. 

“These new battery plants will be game changers: supporting thousands of families, uplifting local businesses, and ensuring our cities and towns thrive for decades to come,” Gov. Whitmer said, “They’ll help Michigan go toe to toe with China, bringing critical parts of the auto supply chain home. We must reduce our reliance on Chinese products, which have caused work stoppages, shortages, and car price hikes over the last few years.”  

Some groups have raised concerns about all the funding that the project has received, to have Ford now choose to downsize the project. 

“The facility’s downsizing includes 32% fewer jobs and a total reduction in investment from approximately $3.5 billion down to $2.2 billion,” said Michigan Freedom Fund in an email. “The Democrats’ push for EVs, combined with the extreme ‘Green New Deal’ is exceeding market demands as consumers continue to choose reliable and affordable energy and transportation options.” 

Michigan Freedom Fund, a group focused on government fiscal accountability, also criticized the use of tax dollars to support a project that has been met with local resistance. 

MORE NEWS: More Than 50 Animals Rescued Out of Emmet County from Alleged Hoarding Situation

“Michigan Democrats continue to pick winners and losers using our tax dollars, and taxpayers always end up being the losers,” said Mary Drabik, Communications Director for the Michigan Freedom Fund in an email. “Governor Whitmer and Democrats must end the cycle of supporting projects that overpromise and underdeliver, and should instead find ways to ease tax burdens for Michigan families instead of big corporations.” 

Advocates of the project, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which awarded Ford and its partners roughly $1.8 billion in state incentives for the project, have highlighted the former estimates of 2,500 new jobs coming to the state. 

“This project creates new opportunities for businesses of all sizes across the state to ensure that Michigan retains its strong supplier network and provides a platform for further investment throughout Michigan,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO and Michigan Strategic Fund President and Chair Quentin Messer Jr.

House Republican Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Township) also criticized the diminished project from its previous 2,500 estimated jobs, calling for accountability. 

“This deal was a disaster from the start, and now Ford is cutting job plans by 32%,” Rep. Hall said in a statement. “If the original proposal misrepresented Ford’s plans, the hundred of millions of dollars tied to job creation should be revoked under the contract. The governor must right-size state funding and ensure taxpayers aren’t left on the hook for her failure.” 

Other concerns for the project include the element of potential threats to national security. 

“The latest announcement from Ford regarding its ongoing saga of its taunted deal with CATL is great news for the CCP and bad news for American national security, and bad news for Michigan taxpayers,” said Joseph Cella, former United States Ambassador. 

Cella echoed the economic concerns compounded by the reduction in jobs. 

“The State of Michigan and Ford continue to imperil our national security and our economic security by being all-in for this ‘deal’,” he said in a statement. “Ford has zero ability to protect our sensitive and nearby task critical military assets from PRC nationals who would be present at the proposed plant, and they are already cutting jobs before they have created them, while there is very low demand for such a product.” 

Alongside the other two Big Three Automakers, Ford recently had its proposed contract approved by UAW employees which would increase general wages, feature cost-of-living adjustments, among other benefits for employees. 

Ford anticipates that even with project setbacks and downsizing, it would be completed in 2026. 

“We still expect BlueOval Battery Park Michigan to be the first of Ford’s battery plants of this kind when it begins producing LFP battery cells starting in 2026,” Ford said.