An Inside Look in Ford’s $11.4 Billion Investment in New Electric Vehicles

TL;DR (3-Minute Read)

  • Ford invests $11.4 billion in new electric vehicle production sites in Tennessee and Kentucky as part of a global effort to combat climate change.
  • Ford partnered with SK Innovations on this project which is a South Korean-based company that specializes in the development and production of petroleum products.
  • Ford has constructed two main manufacturing sites in Tennessee and Kentucky called Blue Oval City Campus and BlueOvalSK Battery Park, respectively. Each site is designed to be carbon neutral and produce as little waste as possible by recycling waste battery material.
  • The industry is starting to produce an enormous number of electric vehicles in response to concerns over the issue of global climate change.

Ford has announced a major investment in electric vehicle (EV) production in the US, promising to build its biggest ever factory in Tennessee, and two battery parks in Kentucky. (BBC News)

The Ford Motor Company announced on September 27th that it plans to spend $11.4 billion on new production sites in Tennessee and Kentucky for electric vehicles as part of the global effort to combat climate change with its partner, SK Innovation, which is a South Korean-based company which specializes in the development and production of petroleum products. Transportation vehicles are responsible for about 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. These new electric cars are said to be zero-emission cars and pickups “at scale” for American customers. This move was estimated to create nearly 11,000 jobs over the next 4 years and is Ford’s largest-ever single manufacturing investment in the company’s 118-year history. “There were a lot of evolutions, but no revolutions. Now we’re on the cusp of a revolution. It’s not just the electrification, although that’s a huge piece of it,” says Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. He adds that it’s also a chance to “achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive—protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love, and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

Of the new 11,000 jobs, it’s reported that about 6,000 are being directed to the Blue Oval City Campus in Stanton, Tennessee, a $5.6 billion mega campus that covers a 6-square-mile area where electric versions of the popular F-series pickup truck will be manufactured, along with electric batteries. The manufacturing site is designed to be carbon neutral. Carbon neutral means that it will not add to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making it more environmentally friendly. It will also include a battery materials recycling facility that will recycle waste material from battery manufacturing so that it can be reused in battery plants. The companies also plan for the factories not to send any waste materials to landfills.

A prototype of an all-electric F-150 Lightning truck at Ford’s Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, this month. Rebecca Cook/Reuters

The remaining 5,000 jobs are headed to the smaller manufacturing site in Glendale, Kentucky, known as the BlueOvalSK Battery Park worth about $5.8 billion. It will produce lithium-ion batteries in two identical battery factories situated next to one another where batteries are to power the “next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles” starting in 2025. SK Innovations is working with Ford on battery manufacturing in this project. Dongseob Jee, president of SK Innovations says, “We are proud to be partnering with Ford as they open a new chapter in automobile history…to bring about our common vision for a cleaner planet…We look forward to growing our trust-based partnership by delivering on our market-leading value proposition, experience, and cutting-edge expertise.”

Environmentalists have long criticized automakers for not responding to the growing issue of climate change and for continuing to sell large, gasoline-guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicles. In response, the industry has made a turn for the better in recent months due to growing concerns over the environment as well as competitive pressure posed by Tesla, the dominant makers of electric cars. Established automakers like Ford and General Motors are working to catch up to Tesla, which is on track to sell more than 800,000 electric cars this year. “This is our moment – our biggest investment ever – to build a better future for America,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and chief executive in a statement.

Ford shared a rendering of the Tennessee manufacturing facility to be called Blue Oval City. (CNN Business)


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