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Ford Motor Co to Invest $11.4 Billion in 2 New Mega Campuses to Lead the U.S. in Electric Vehicle Production

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【Summary】Ford Motor Co announced plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs in Tennessee and Kentucky at two new mega factories. The two massive plants will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks as well as the batteries that will power future electric Ford and Lincoln branded vehicles. Ford’s investment commitment is the largest ever manufacturing investment at one time by any automaker in the U.S., according to the company.

Eric Walz    Sep 28, 2021 10:20 AM PT
Ford Motor Co to Invest $11.4 Billion in 2 New Mega Campuses to Lead the U.S. in Electric Vehicle Production
Ford's all-new $5.6 billion Blue Oval City mega campus in Stanton, Tennessee will create approximately 6,000 new jobs.

The shift to electric vehicles has already taken hold in the auto industry, which helped make Tesla the world's most valuable car company in less than a decade after the launch of the Model S in 2012. 

Now that legacy automakers are introducing many new fully electric vehicles, startups are also entering the market, including electric truck maker Rivian with its fully-electric R1T pickup that could become a strong rival to Ford's F-150 line of pickups. 

The rapid transition to electrification in the auto industry has prompted U.S. automaker Ford Motor Company to commit to the biggest investment in the company's 118-year-old history to build the largest, most advanced, most efficient auto production complex.

Ford announced on Monday it plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs in Tennessee and Kentucky at two new mega factories. The two massive plants will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks as well as the batteries that will power future electric Ford and Lincoln branded vehicles.

Ford's investment commitment is the largest ever manufacturing investment at one time by any automaker in the U.S., according to the company. 

"This is our moment – our biggest investment ever – to help build a better future for America," said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. "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."

As part of the plans, Ford is building a $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, Tenn., called "Blue Oval City", which will create approximately 6,000 new jobs. Ford said the plant will "reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured."

Blue Oval City will be one of the largest auto manufacturing campuses in U.S. history, Ford said. The automaker said the factory will usher in a "new era for American manufacturing."

Blue Oval City will become a vertically integrated ecosystem for Ford to assemble an expanded lineup of fully-electric F-Series vehicles. It will also include a BlueOvalSK battery plant, key suppliers and battery recycling facilities The vertically integrated ecosystem will help to deliver cost efficiency while minimizing the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process. 

The 3,600-acre campus in Tenessee will cover nearly 6 square miles.

The assembly plant in Tennessee will use cloud-connected technologies to deliver improvements in quality and productivity, according to Ford. The mega campus is also being designed to include the potential to use local renewable energy sources, including geothermal, solar and wind power.

Ford said the new Tennessee assembly plant will be designed to be carbon neutral, with zero waste to landfill once fully operational.

The addition of approximately 6,000 new jobs in Tennessee will also help boost the local economy around the plant.

"West Tennessee is primed to deliver the workforce and quality of life needed to create the next great American success story with Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation," said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. "This is a watershed moment for Tennesseans as we lead the future of the automotive industry and advanced manufacturing."

In Kentucky, which is home to one of Ford's biggest truck plants, the automaker plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with its battery partner SK Innovation. The $5.8 billion "BlueOvalSK Battery Park" in Glendale, KY will create roughly 5,000 new jobs. It's scheduled to open in 2025.

"This is the single largest investment in the history of our state and this project solidifies our leadership role in the future of the automotive manufacturing industry," said Kentucky Governor. Andy Beshear.

Two twin battery plants on the site will supply Ford's North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries for powering next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The plants will be capable of producing up to 43 gigawatt hours (GWh) each for a total of 86 GWh annually.

The latest investments in Tennessee and Kentucky battery plants will be made via BlueOvalSK, a new joint venture by Ford and its battery partner SK Innovation.

Ford announced its joint venture agreement with South Korea-based SK Innovation in May. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to produce approximately 60 GWh annually in battery cells and array modules. Battery production is scheduled to begin by mid-decade, with potential to expand as Ford introduces new electric models.

"We are proud to be partnering with Ford as they open a new chapter in automobile history," said Dongseob Jee, president of battery business, SK Innovation. "We are excited to be taking this decisive leap together, as partners, and to bring about our common vision for a cleaner planet."

In addition to Ford's massive investments in its future, the company recently announced that it will work with battery recycling startup Redwood Materials on a closed-loop domestic battery recycling program. Nevada-based Redwood Materials was founded by Tesla co-founder J.B. Straubel. 

Ford also said its seeing strong demand for the all-new Ford F-150 Lightning truck, E-Transit commercial van and Mustang Mach-E SUV and will expand production capacity and add jobs at the new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Mich.

In August, Ford announced it will double its annual production target from the new F-150 Lighting electric pickup based on strong demand. Ford's production target has been increased from 40,000 units to 80,000 units by 2024. Ford plans to spend an additional $850 million in order to meet its goal, according to sources that spoke to Reuters last month.

This latest $11.4 billion investment is part of Ford's $30+ billion investment in electric vehicles through 2025 to support the automaker's longer term goal of creating a sustainable American manufacturing ecosystem and move towards achieving carbon neutrality. Ford expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.

"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 Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. "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."

Ford is also investing $90 million in Texas as part of a $525 million total investment over the next five years to transform America's auto technician industry, who will need specialized training to service Ford's advanced electric vehicles. 

The investment in Texas will go toward job training and career readiness initiatives for the current and next generation of electric vehicle technicians to service and maintain Ford's future electric vehicles. 

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