Ford Motor Company has announced a historic $11.4 billion investment to develop and manufacture next-generation electric vehicles (EVs) in Tennessee and Kentucky. Partnering with battery-maker SK Innovation, the Blue Oval brand, as Ford is affectionately known, plans to build electric F-series pickup trucks and advanced lithium-ion battery packs for future Ford and Lincoln EVs at the new sites. The overall initiative will create 11,000 new jobs across both states, supporting the Biden administration's push to increase U.S. employment in the clean energy sector.
"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."
The Stanton, Tennesee facility, named Blue Oval City, will be a $5.6 billion investment, including an electric pickup assembly plant and a joint venture battery plant called BlueOvalSK. The 3,600-acre (nearly six square miles) campus will be home to almost 6,000 new jobs.
In Kentucky, Ford and SK Innovation will have two more BlueOvalSK battery plants employing as many as 5,000 people. Ford says that the 1,500-acre site will cost $5.8 billion to build and achieve carbon neutrality at full operation.
These massive investments come on the heels of Ford's recent announcements that it will work with Redwood Materials on closed-loop domestic battery recycling and increase the F-150 Lightning pickup production to meet newly realized demand for the vehicle. The electrified version of Ford's iconic truck will initially be built in Dearborn, Michigan, beginning in 2022.
Each of the three BlueOvalSK battery plants—one in Tennessee, two in Kentucky—will produce up to 43 GWh of battery power annually. The overall effort will supply Ford with 129 GWh of battery production to support an ambitious electrification strategy, domestically and globally.
"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."
The $11.4 billion stake is a part of Ford's $30 billion planned investment in electric vehicles through 2025, announced last year. Ford expects nearly half of its global vehicle sales to be fully electric by 2030.
As the auto industry shifts toward electrification, brands from Audi to Volvo are making significant strides in their EV and battery production strategies with large-scale investments. Volvo is one brand whose ambitious plans have one-upped larger rivals to eliminate all internal combustion engine offerings and transition to an all-electric model lineup by 2030.