Ford says this move toward EVs will create 11,000 new jobs.
On Tuesday, Ford Motor Company laid out a massive $7 billion investment plan to accelerate its transition toward electric vehicles. In the process, it will build out two new plants to manufacture battery packs and assemble EVs in Tennessee and Kentucky. The Tennessee plant, dubbed “Blue Oval City”, will be the company’s first all-new U.S. plant in more than 50 years — since the Kentucky Truck plant opened in 1969.
The 3,600-acre Tennessee plant, expected to open by 2025, will bring in around 6,000 workers to build the company’s next-generation, electric F-Series trucks. It will also include a battery plant, in a joint venture with South Korea-based SK Innovation, to supply modules for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Ford says it is designing the plants be carbon neutral from day one, and contribute no waste to landfills once they are fully operational. Of its major capital investment, $5.6 billion will go toward this facility, located just northeast of Memphis in Stanton, Tennessee.
When construction is complete, the Stanton complex will have a footprint three times larger than the Rouge plant in Michigan, near Ford’s Dearborn headquarters.
Further EV expansion
Two more battery plants in central Kentucky will also come about as part of the Ford-SK Innovation joint venture, called BlueOvalSK. The two firms aim to invest a total $5.8 billion here, with SK Innovation committing $4.4 billion of that to the Kentucky facility, south of Louisville. Ford says the Kentucky complex will create another 5,000 jobs, with both battery plants coming online by 2026.
For the time being, according to Automotive News and the Wall Street Journal, it’s unclear whether these plants will be unionized when they kick off production. A company spokesperson told AutoNews that employees at the joint venture Kentucky plant will have to decide whether to unionize. UAW president Ray Curry said of the matter, “We look forward to reaching out and helping develop this new workforce to build these world class vehicles and battery components.”
“This is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing,” said executive chairman Bill Ford. This plan comes into play as the company builds momentum toward the F-150 Lightning truck, set to go into production in the coming months, along with building the Mustang Mach-E crossover and E-Transit van. Overall, Ford Motor Company’s aiming to fill 40% to 50% of their global sales volume with electric vehicles by 2030.