Ford announces massive investment into a new site to build the F-150 Lightning electric vehicle (EV) and three new battery gigafactories

Ford Motor Company has announced big plans to lead the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in the US. The company is investing $11.4 billion into two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky.

These plants will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Plus, Ford is also investing $90 million in Texas. This is a huge and impressive investment, and hopefully, will prompt other large automakers to do similar.

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This investment by Ford will be the largest ever US investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs. Ford aims to strengthen local communities and build on its position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers.

An all-new $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, Tennessee, called Blue Oval City, will create approximately 6,000 new jobs and reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured.

Blue Oval City will become a vertically integrated ecosystem for Ford to assemble an expanded lineup of electric F-Series vehicles and will include a BlueOvalSK battery plant, key suppliers and recycling. Ford’s new Tennessee assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill once fully operational.

In central Kentucky, Ford plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with SK Innovation. Here they’re investing $5.8 billion into the BlueOvalSK Battery Park creating 5,000 jobs in the process.

Twin battery plants on the site are intended to supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries for powering next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Investments in the new Tennessee and Kentucky battery plants are planned to be made via BlueOvalSK, a new joint venture to be formed by Ford and SK Innovation, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions.

Bill Ford, Ford executive chair, said: “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.

“With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive – protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”  

Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO, said: “This is our moment – our biggest investment ever – to help build a better future for America. We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few.

“It’s about creating good jobs that support American families, an ultra-efficient, carbon-neutral manufacturing system, and a growing business that delivers value for communities, dealers and shareholders.”

All-new Ford Blue Oval City

Here, Ford is creating an all-new electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem. Blue Oval City will be among the largest auto manufacturing campuses in US history. Like the iconic Rouge complex in Michigan did a century earlier, Blue Oval City will usher in a new era for American manufacturing.

The new 3,600-acre campus covering nearly six square miles will encompass vehicle assembly, battery production and a supplier park. The vertically integrated system will deliver cost efficiency while minimising the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.

The assembly plant will use always-on cloud-connected technologies to drive vast improvements in quality and productivity. The mega campus is designed to add more sustainability solutions, including the potential to use local renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar and wind power.

The new site will create approximately 6,000 jobs and will be a hive of technical innovation to build next-generation electric F-Series trucks. This growth opportunity will allow Ford to reach new customers with an expanded electric truck lineup.

The new assembly plant at Blue Oval City is designed to have as minimal an impact as possible on the surrounding environment, and even to generate positive impacts. The assembly plant’s goal is to have a regenerative impact on the local environment through biomimicry in the design of the facility.

From the start of production in 2025, Ford’s goal is for the assembly plant to be carbon neutral. Through an on-site wastewater treatment plant, the assembly plant aspires to make zero freshwater withdrawals for assembly processes by incorporating water reuse and recycling systems.

Zero-waste-to-landfill processes will capture materials and production scrap at an on-site materials collection centre to sort and route materials for recycling or processing either at the plant or at off-site facilities once the plant is operational.

Ford is collaborating with Redwood Materials, a leading battery materials company, to make electric vehicles more sustainable and affordable for Americans. They aim to localise the supply chain network, create recycling options for scrap and end-of-life vehicles, and ramp up lithium-ion recycling.

Ford believes battery recycling is essential for the success of an electrified future and has the potential to offer significant economic benefits as well as help solve for end-of-life battery recycling.

BlueOvalSK Battery Park

Joining the Ford electric manufacturing plant is a $5.8 billion, 1,500-acre BlueOvalSK battery manufacturing campus in Glendale, Kentucky, which is targeted to open in 2025.

Twin co-located plants will be capable of producing up to 43 gigawatt hours each for a total of 86 gigawatt hours annually. Together, these American-made batteries will power next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

It will bring 5,000 new jobs to Kentucky and BlueOvalSK Battery Park will be centrally located to support Ford’s North American assembly plants’ footprint.

Technician investments in Texas

Ford is also investing $90 million in Texas as part of a $525 million total investment across the US. This will happen over the next five years to transform America’s auto technician industry.

The investment will go towards job training and career readiness initiatives for the current and next generation of technicians. These programs aim to develop highly skilled technicians and will support Ford’s growing portfolio of connected electric vehicles.

Ford are truly leading the way in the US during this decade when it comes to the transition to electric cars. They are moving forwards at a rapid rate while creating jobs and communities for the future. Let’s hope more follow suit soon.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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