Ford battery plants to boost US supply chain
Ford’s recent announcement of plans to build lithium-ion battery factories in the southeastern U.S. set electric vehicle industry watchers into a flurry of speculation and prognostication.
While automakers around the world are racing to fill the increasing EV demand and the Biden Administration is pushing for faster electrification of the U.S. vehicle fleet, industry analysts are asking the multibillion-dollar question:
Where in the world (literally) will we find the raw materials needed to fulfill these ambitious plans?
As Ford begins to build its factories in Kentucky and Tennessee, I suggest the company look just to the west for a home-grown solution to its lithium supply problem.
Buried deep within the Smackover Formation of southern Arkansas sits what is likely the continent’s most concentrated lithium brine prospect. Estimated at 4 million tons LCE and averaging 325 ppm lithium, this prospect encompasses 100,000 acres that can be developed in a manner that is less intrusive to the environment than traditional lithium mining.
We all know that supply chain disruptions and the fear of relying on foreign nations for raw material supplies are major obstacles to the development of American’s EV industry. The Smackover prospect helps level the playing field and is only a stone’s throw from Ford’s proposed production facilities.
American lithium can power American EVs. American ingenuity and American materials must drive America’s EV future.