Michigan adds $120 million in incentives for Ford EV megasite near Marshall
- Michigan awarded $120.3 million to Marshall-area economic developers to prepare a 1,900 acre megasite for development
- Ford Motor Co. plans to build a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery factory on half of the property
- State incentives on the project top $1 billion
Michigan committed another $120.3 million toward a megasite development near Marshall that will house a Ford Motor Co. battery factory for electric vehicles.
The funding — provided to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance — is among an expected $1 billion-plus in incentives, tax breaks and road improvements that will be provided by the state toward the $3.5 billion manufacturing project.
The latest round of funding will support land acquisition, site development, water and wastewater upgrades, professional duties and other investments toward setting up the property for development of the Ford factory, said CEO Quentin Messer Jr. of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
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The activities are “time-sensitive,” Messer said Tuesday at a media briefing before the unanimous approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund, the public funding arm of the MEDC.
“(They) are a critical component of our state’s overall strategy to develop more investment,” Messer said, along with attracting and retaining what he called “generational projects.”
U.S. and global companies are seeking sites for billions of dollars in new EV-related projects or those involving other advanced technology, such as semiconductors. At the same time, some Michigan Democratic leaders are saying they plan to revise the state’s business incentive program, though no details have been announced.
The property, which Ford is calling BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, is about 1,900 acres comprising mostly farmland west of Marshall in Calhoun County. Ford will occupy about 950 acres, while the rest of the property will be prepped for future businesses that likely will be related to EV battery manufacturing.
The project allows Michigan “opportunities to develop the value chain in the battery industry,” Messer said.
Other operations on the site could include companies that assemble battery cell compartments or those that recycle leftover production material.
“The hope is that we will be able to aggressively compete,” Messer said, as businesses seek proximity to Ford’s factory on the site.
The factory will be the first in the U.S. to produce lithium iron phosphate (LPF) batteries, which Ford says will make EVs more affordable. The automaker will use technology from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) of China, and will rely on CATL for early versions of the batteries until the factory is fully operating — likely by 2026, when Ford estimates it will be producing 2 million EVs per year.
Tuesday’s MSF vote follows legislative approval for the funding. The money will come from the Strategic Site Readiness Program grant arm of the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) approved by the legislature for large-scale projects in late 2021.
Other state incentives for the project, announced in February, include a $210 million grant from SOAR that is tied to meeting development goals, plus a 15-year renaissance zone that will allow Ford to run the plant essentially tax-free.
MAEDA, the Marshall economic development group, also already received a $36 million loan to purchase a portion of the planned site and start infrastructure improvements.
All of the property needed for this project has already been acquired, Terri Fitzpatrick, chief real estate officer for the MEDC, said Tuesday.
The state said it expects the new Ford factory to generate $29.7 billion in personal income over the next 20 years due to workers being paid from $20 to $50 per hour. The range is equivalent to $41,600 to $104,000 per year.
MSF board members raised few questions about the project, which is generating concerns that it is too big for the Marshall area and among some critics who worry that the salary range for jobs will not be enough to keep young people in the state. It joins other regions in the state targeted for megasites — such as the Big Rapids area and Eagle Township, west of Lansing — where opposition arose as word spread about the development.
While the MEDC told the board the Marshall project has been actively marketed for a large industrial use for several years, Ron Beebe, CEO of Euclid Industries of Bay City among other businesses, suggested more outreach take place as other projects take shape to alleviate local concerns.
“As a team, we need to perhaps revisit and do more than what the legislation requires us to do,” he said.
Ford is valued at $45.9 billion as of Tuesday, down about 1 percent for the year. The Dearborn-based automaker said Friday that it will lose $3 billion this year from its EV division, which is now run as a separate business unit. The loss is credited to spending on new sites, including its Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tenn., and product development, including a new EV truck that will be built in Stanton.
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