Ford announced Monday it will partner with Chinese electric vehicle battery maker CATL to build a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan. The US automaker hopes the move will boost sales of its EVs with affordable lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries. The company aims to begin operations in 2026 with a manufacturing capacity of 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of batteries to achieve an annual production rate of 400,000 electric vehicles, with technology and technical support licensed from CATL. China’s EV battery shipments increased 91% last year to 294.6 GWh, of which 62.4% are LFP batteries. Iron-based LFP batteries do not contain cobalt and are less expensive than nickel-based batteries with cobalt or aluminum cathode material. [Reuters]