Ford Motor Co. is planning on building manufacturing hubs in Kentucky and Tennessee working with a South Korean energy firm that is a part of an $11.4 billion investment to promote the production of more electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries on a large scale. Ford disclosed that its $7 billion shares will be the largest single investment in EVs in the U.S. by any automaker.
The new project is estimated to generate 11,000 jobs between the two states that are heavily reliant on the coal industry and the Tennessee plant (known as Blue Oval City) will be the largest auto-manufacturing site in U.S. history. This move can help draw accessibility and appeal of electric vehicles with the effort to curb the use of fossil fuel while combating climate change.
Ford was facing increased pressure from climate-concerned governments worldwide and the company is dedicating to the goal of EVs to account for at least 40% of its sales in the U.S. and 100% of sales in Europe by 2030. Ford already offers hybrid models including the 2021 Escape Hybrid, 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid, 2021 Escape Plug-In Hybrid, and the 2022 Maverick.
This year Ford introduced their first fully electric models including the 2022 Mustang Mach-E, 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, and 2022 E-Transit. The new production facilities will help increase the volume over the next decade through manufacturing EVs, parts, and batteries with more than one million battery packs each year.
The first factory will be established in Blue Oval City at the Memphis Regional Megasite (an undeveloped industrial complex) on a property spanning six square miles and will have 6,000 employees. The Blue Oval City factory will produce electric pickup trucks along with parts and batteries for maintenance.
The power utility company, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), is celebrating Ford’s decision that would further the goal of making Tennessee a hub for EVs and has a goal of putting 200,000 EVs on roads in the TVA’s service area by 2028. Tennessee is dubbed the No. 3 hub in the country for EV manufacturing because auto manufacturers benefit from high power reliability and low industrial rates.
The plant in central Kentucky will feature two battery manufacturing plants that will be financed and run by the new joint venture of Ford and South Korean energy company SK Innovation, BlueOvalSK. Ford’s investment in EVs also supports President Biden’s economic agenda addresses important factors such as climate solutions, job creation, more jobs in clean energy, EVs, and their related component suppliers that might replace existing jobs in industries that damage the environment.