Lawmakers: Probe Supply Chain of Michigan EV Plant

Two U.S. representatives want an investigation into the companies set to supply a new EV battery plant being built by Ford.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Ford President and CEO Jim Farley, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, UAW President Ray Curry, Ford Chair Bill Ford and Marshall, MI, Mayor Jim Schwartz at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, MI, on Feb. 13, 2023, when Ford Motor Co. announced plans for a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Marshall.

A letter urges an investigation into suppliers of a Ford electric vehicle plant in Marshall, MI.

Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Select Committee on the CCP, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, signed the letter.

The lawmakers are urging an investigation into four companies allegedly supplying goods and services to the People’s Liberation Army, the government of North Korea, China’s Ministry of Public Security, companies engaged in the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and companies already on the Commerce Entity List.

Reuters first reported the letter written to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging the probe would “safeguard American interests, supply chains, and the billions of taxpayer dollars that the CATL-Ford facility will receive.”

The letter follows the committee’s investigation into the proposed partnership between Ford and Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Co. Limited (CATL), Ford’s “technical service provider."

The Ford site was set to receive a $1.75 billion subsidy, including $630 million in site infrastructure development, $772 million in tax credits over 15 years, a $120 million grant through the Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Program, a $210 million grant through the Michigan Critical Industry Program and $36 million through the Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund Loan Program before it cut 800 jobs amid weak demand for EVs.

The lawmakers sent a similar letter to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Ford President and CEO James Farley. The latter requested an interview by Feb. 5.

“We respectfully request that Ford make available for an interview a company official who will be able to speak with us about the due diligence Ford conducted before and after it entered into the agreements with CATL,” the letter said.

The letter says four PRC companies are involved in the proposed U.S. battery facility's design, construction and information technology processes.

“It is unconscionable for Ford to purchase critical IT infrastructure from a Chinese company that facilitate sanctions evasion activity on behalf of the North Korean government,” the letter said. “Indeed, this poses significant cybersecurity risks, including the potential for malicious actors to exploit the very connections and data flows iPaaS tools are designed to facilitate."

Ford’s Richard Binhammer, with corporate and public policy communications told The Center Square in an email the company welcomes any information about supply chain integrity.

“We've been helping the committees understand this Ford wholly owned and operated project," Binhammer wrote. "Ford has always been and remains fully committed to following all government regulations across our business. Beyond legal requirements, Ford suppliers are required to meet our high standards and codes of conducts, including those to protect human rights, and are obligated to extend those requirements to suppliers with whom they might work. We welcome any information from any source concerning the integrity of our supply chains and partners."

Ford plans to produce lithium iron phosphate batteries at the plant starting in 2026.

AkzoNobel Beta web graphic v2 600px

Shop & Product Showcase