Virginia Blocks Ford Battery Plant Over China Concerns

Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia has blocked the state from being considered for a battery plant proposed by Ford Motor Company due to concerns about the technology being supplied by a Chinese company.

In his State of the Commonwealth speech, Youngkin stated, “Let’s develop our own technology.”

He criticized the use of technology “owned and dominated by the Chinese.”

Governor Youngkin also called for state legislators to ban social media from selling data from minors and ban the sale of farmland to entities linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In addition, Gov. Youngkin emphasized economic development successes for the Commonwealth, such as the relocations of Boeing and Raytheon to Virginia.

The Virginia governor also mentioned Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s recent announcement of major expansions of electric automotive manufacturing from Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, noting that Georgia serves as a benchmark for economic performance.

When reporters asked about his policy on investments with China while he was co-CEO of Carlyle, Youngkin said, “I think I’m uniquely positioned to understand how the Chinese Communist Party works. I dealt with them, and I understand what they’re doing. They have one objective: global dominance at the expense of the United States.”

In July 2022, Ford Motor said that it had reached an agreement to acquire battery packs from a Chinese supplier as it races to ramp up its global production of electric vehicles, The New York Times reported.

The automaker said it would begin purchasing battery packs next year from Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Limited that will be used in electric vehicles produced in North America and other regions, a push by Ford to be able to produce 600,000 electric vehicles a year by the end of 2023.

“The Chinese company, which is known as CATL, is the largest battery producer in the world and is often regarded as the most important player in the electric vehicle industry after Tesla,” the Times report said.

“The announcement underscores the dominant position of Chinese companies in the supply chain for electric vehicles, which are critical to the effort to rein in climate change and the ability of the world’s largest automakers compete with Tesla. China produces about 80 percent of the cells that power lithium ion batteries cells, according to Benchmark Intelligence, a research firm.”