The Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will partner with a Chinese manufacturer as it looks to build a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery production facility in Michigan.

The planned factory in Marshall, Mich., is expected to start production in 2026 and eventually employ 2,500 people, the Detroit-based automaker said in a statement.

Ford expects to operate the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan facility as a subsidiary, which will produce lithium iron phosphate batteries as the company looks to ramp up its EV lines.

Contemporary Amperex Technology will provide its existing technology to the plant. The Chinese company operates 13 facilities in Europe and Asia and specializes in the LFP batteries.

The Ford plant also will produce nickel cobalt manganese batteries, making the company the first in the United States to produce both types of power source.

The company will introduce LFP batteries into its vehicle lineup this year, starting with an electric version of the iconic Ford Mustang.

The LFP batteries will allow Ford to add further vehicles to its EV lineup with a goal of achieving 8% earnings before interest and taxes by 2026. Ford hopes produce an estimated 600,000 EVs annually by the end of that year.

Embracing the new battery chemistry technology also reduces Ford’s reliance on nickel and cobalt, both of which are critical metals.

“Ford’s electric vehicle lineup has generated huge demand. To get as many Ford EVs to customers as possible, we’re the first automaker to commit to build both NCM and LFP batteries in the United States,” Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

“We’re delivering on our commitments as we scale LFP and NCM batteries and thousands, and soon millions, of customers will begin to reap the benefits of Ford EVs with cutting-edge, durable battery technologies that are growing more affordable over time.”

The news comes despite frosty international relations between China and the United States.

The Pentagon denied accusations Monday from Beijing that American balloons were found flying over Chinese airspace.

China continues to insist a separate balloon shot down over U.S. airspace last week was a weather probe and not used for illicit activities.

“Investments like today’s will help @Ford make more electric vehicles-top to bottom-right here in Michigan. They’re on track to deliver 600,000 electric vehicles by the end of this year and 2 million every year by 2026,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted after the announcement.

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