The three congressmen Jason Smith, Cahty McMorris Rodgers and Mike Gallagher are the chairmen, respectively, of the Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.
In a letter made public on Wednesday, the congressmen asked Ford to send them documentation about the agreement reached in July 2022 with the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).
Smith, McMorris Rodgers and Gallagher previously expressed concerns that CATL was using forced labor in China.
The agreement with Ford allows the American company to access the technology of CATL, the largest manufacturer of lithium-ferrophosphate (LFP) batteries in the world.
With this technology, Ford plans to build a factory in the city of Marshall (USA), about 170 kilometers west of Detroit and with an investment of 3.5 billion dollars, to produce batteries for 400,000 cars per year.
These types of batteries are between 10 and 15% cheaper than the lithium-nickel-manganese (NCM) batteries currently used by the American manufacturer in its vehicles, because they reduce the need for use of scarce minerals, such as nickel.
Ford has indicated that the production of this type of battery is essential for the company to expand its electric vehicle production capacity.
Specifically, Ford announced on Monday the temporary suspension of the Marshall battery project without detailing the reasons for the decision.
The company simply made a statement that it needed to ensure that the plant could operate competitively.
But three Republican congressmen on Wednesday described Ford’s decision to suspend construction of the Marshall plant as “just a small first step.”
“We are concerned that Ford has not been fully transparent with our requests for documents and information,” the congressmen said.
In May, Republican Senator Marco Rubio also expressed his suspicions about the agreement between Ford and another Chinese company, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt (ZHC), to get thousands of tons of nickel cheaper in Indonesia. to be used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. .
Rubio said the ZHC deal, which also includes Indonesia’s PT Vale, a subsidiary of a Brazil-based mining conglomerate, could leave Ford “at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party.”