Ford to locate Ion Park battery lab in Romulus, Mich.; receives tax breaks

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday said its Ion Park battery lab, first revealed in April, will be based in Romulus, Mich., a suburb southwest of Detroit.

The automaker on Tuesday received approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund to transfer an existing Renaissance Zone tax incentive to help establish the 200,000-square-foot facility, which Ford says will cost $100 million and house roughly 200 employees. The incentive includes a waiver of city income and utility users taxes, most city property taxes, county property taxes and state income tax or single business tax, according to the city of Detroit.

Ion Park, scheduled to open by the end of next year, will serve as a key research lab for Ford as it moves toward manufacturing its own battery cells. Ford says workers there will be capable of designing and manufacturing lithium ion and solid-state battery cells and arrays.

“Ford already is delivering on our plan to lead the electric revolution with strong new vehicles including Mustang Mach-E, 2022 E-Transit available late 2021 and the 2022 F-150 Lightning,” Anand Sankaran, Ford Ion Park director, said in a statement. “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.”

Ford said its Ion Park investment is part of its $30 billion commitment to electrification. The Ion Park team will work closely with its Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory in Allen Park, Mich., that opened in 2020. That site has 150 test chambers and 325 channels for development work; it has tested more than 150 types of battery cells.

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