VA Governor Turns Down $3.5B Ford Plant, Cites Chinese Connection

It would have created some 2,500 jobs.

Ford wants to build a $3.5 billion battery plant that would reportedly create approximately 2,500 jobs. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Michigan and Virginia were front runners to land the deal.

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That was until Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin axed any chance of the project coming to Old Dominion. The administration defended its decision and said, “This proposal would serve as a front for the Chinese Communist party, which would compromise our economic security and Virginians’ personal privacy.”

That comment came after Youngkin said during his State of the Commonwealth address, “I am asking the General Assembly to send me a bill to prohibit dangerous foreign entities tied to the CCP from purchasing Virginia farmland.” Youngkin also stressed that he wanted “Made in America” to mean “Made in Virginia.”

The proposed battery plant is the product of a collaboration between American automaker Ford and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), a Chinese battery manufacturer and technology company. 

Bloomberg reported in December that Ford would own 100% of the plant, and that CATL would operate the factory and own the technology to build cells. Such an arrangement would make the facility eligible for production tax credits per the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Had Virginia been selected, the facility would have been built at the Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill, a 3,528-acre publicly owned location which, according to the Danville City Pittsylvania County website, has no reserved space.

The site was purchased in 2008 by the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority and has received more than $200 million in investments for infrastructure development. It nearly locked up a $5.5 billion Hyundai electric vehicle and battery plant with over 8,000 jobs last May, but the company ultimately decided on Savannah, Georgia.

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