Ford’s Turkey EV battery JV scrapped
Turkish partner nixes deal with Ford and LGES citing low EV demand
US legacy OEM Ford will lose another piece of its planned global battery production capacity after a joint venture (JV) for a battery facility in Turkey fell through.
Turkish industrial conglomerate Koc Holding, a partner in the planned JV, withdrew its commitment to the project, citing slowdowns in global EV demand. “Considering the current pace of electric vehicle adoption, the timing is not appropriate for a battery cell investment,” the Turkish firm says.
A memorandum of understanding signed in February has now been revoked. The deal between Ford, Koc and South Korean battery firm LG Energy Solutions (LGES) had set out to create one of Europe’s largest commercial electric vehicle battery cell facilities near Ankara.
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Koc is a pre-existing partner of Ford’s on a vehicle assembly plant in Kocaeli, Turkey. This plant is not affected by the suspension of the battery JV.
“Ford and Koc Holding will remain committed to support EV production at Ford Otosan's Kocaeli plant and will evaluate potential battery cell investments in the future in line with the dynamics of the EV market,” the Turkish firm continues.
Since 2021, Ford has said that its global EV plan calls for 240GWh of battery cell capacity by 2030, which the firm calls “roughly 10 plants’ worth”. The Detroit OEM plans 140GWh of battery production capacity in the US and the remaining 100GWh across Europe and Chinese manufacturing operations.
However, the deal for the Turkish plant falling through eliminates up to 45GWh of capacity on an annual basis. In addition to this, Ford announced at its Q3 results that it was putting the brakes on the second of two battery JVs with South Korean chemicals company SK On, which Ford recently said would contribute up to 120GWh/yr in total.
Unless this battery capacity is replaced, Ford appears to be a far cry away from its battery targets. The company is, however, deferring investment in its EV production strategy for the time being, being unwilling to go any lower on EV pricing to stimulate demand amid what CEO Jim Farley calls “overcapacity in the middle of the market”.
Ford still says that it has already sourced 70pc of battery capacity to support 2mn+ annual EV global run rate by 2026 and “plans to localise 40GWh/yr of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) capacity in North America in 2026”.
The JV’s other participant, LGES, has been reeling off battery joint venture agreements with automakers in recent months, most recently signing a deal with Toyota to supply the Japanese OEM with 20GWh of high-nickel NCMA battery modules annually in North America from 2025.
In February, LGES broke ground on an LFP battery plant in Ohio which it will operate with Japanese OEM Honda, having invested an initial $3.5bn.