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Ford, BMW, and JLR to chase Tesla by co-developing EV batteries

With Tesla in a mad dash to finish its Gigafactory and Faraday Future poised to break ground on its own massive battery production facility, large automakers are looking for a way to catch up.

Autocar is reporting that Jaguar/Land Rover (JLR) has joined a conversation between Ford and BMW about co-developing a battery factory that could scale production for the range of new EV models on the way from each brand. Though FF and Tesla require giant facilities to supply their purely electric line of cars, other automakers only need a fraction of the production to supply a few hybrids and EVs.

Currently, JLR doesn’t have a single electric vehicle, but it’s eager to incorporate one — likely in its new F-Pace crossover. Meanwhile, BMW sources its batteries from Samsung and Ford receives its batteries from an LG entity. By pooling resources in one facility, all three brands could experience lower developments costs, more efficient production processes, and better battery technologies.

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Though Ford currently builds the all-electric C-Max and Fusion, its first from-the-ground-up EV model could be the “Model E.” Tesla attempted to use the nameplate before settling on the Model 3, so it’s doubtful Ford would put up a fight to save the badge without using it.

BMW’s next generation i3 and an all-electric i8 are most certainly in the works, along with the rumored i5. BMW has already committed to adding electrified powertrains to current models and to developing more i Series models, so we can expect the automaker’s need for batteries to swell.

Ford, BMW, and JLR are probably not alone in their quest to co-develop EV technologies. Though the EPA has been stalled in its attempts to drastically improve fuel economy figures and reduce emissions, the restrictions will continue to tighten and automakers will be forced to add alternative energy models. Getting the foundational work done now will mean better products and cheaper development bills.