Ford signs joint venture agreement for Turkish battery plant with LG ES
Ford has agreed with LG Energy Solution and Koç Holding to form a joint venture to build a large battery cell plant for electric commercial vehicles in Turkey. The plant in Turkey had originally been planned with SK ON.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the plant in Başkent near the Turkish capital Ankara is expected to take place this year, according to the three companies. Production is scheduled to start in 2026, according to the non-binding agreement, with the three companies committing to at least 25 GWh of annual production capacity, which could potentially be expanded to up to 45 GWh.
The site near Ankara was strategically chosen because Ford and Koç Holding have operated a vehicle plant there for more than 60 years through the Ford Otosan joint venture. Light commercial vehicles are built there, also with electric drive. The Ford E-Transit for Europe comes off the production line there and already uses battery cells from LGES – but these cells are still supplied from the LG plant in Poland, where the cells for the Ford Mustang Mach-E are also built.
This announcement confirms the rumour from January 2023 that Ford is changing its battery partner for Turkey. Originally, Ford and Koç wanted to build the Turkish plant for commercial vehicle battery cells together with SK On. According to a recent report by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, this partnership, which was concluded in March 2022, was dissolved about a fortnight ago.
Reasons for the change of battery partner are not given in the Ford release. In the report, Yonhap refers to industry sources that SK On pulled out of the project due to persistent losses and rising costs. However, this has not been confirmed.
SK On is, however, to remain the battery partner for the three US cell factories under construction to be operated by the Ford-SK joint venture BlueOval SK. Ford is officially building a fourth US cell factory for LFP cells on its own, but is using CATL’s expertise and technology to operate it.
“We are delivering on the commitment to produce batteries in the same region where we build electric vehicles. Establishing the new joint venture with LGES and Koç Holding will lay a solid foundation that is fundamental to building a thriving electric vehicle future for Ford in Europe,” said Lisa Drake, Vice President, Ford EV Industrialisation.
“Now joining forces with Ford and Koç in Turkey, we will bring in our leading battery technology to further boost the EV transition in Europe, thereby leading the global initiatives for a more sustainable future,” says Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution.