Ford and a partner company say they plan to build three major electric-vehicle battery factories and an auto assembly plant by 2025—a dramatic investment in the future of EV technology that will create an estimated 10,800 jobs and shift the automaker's future manufacturing footprint toward the South. The factories, to be built on sites in Kentucky and Tennessee, will make batteries for the next generation of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles that will be produced in North America, per the AP. Combined, they mark the single largest manufacturing investment the 118-year-old company has ever made and are among the largest factory outlays in the world.
Notably, the new factories will provide a vast new supply of jobs that will likely pay solid wages. Most of the new jobs will be full time. Together with its battery partner, SK Innovation of South Korea, Ford says it will spend $5.6 billion in rural Stanton, Tenn., where it will build a factory to produce electric F-Series pickups. A joint venture called BlueOvalSK will construct a battery factory on the same site near Memphis, plus twin battery plants in Glendale, Ky., near Louisville.
Ford estimated it will pay $7 billion toward the Kentucky investment. Combined, the three new battery plants will be able to supply enough batteries to power 1 million vehicles per year, about 129 gigawatts of power, says Lisa Drake, Ford's COO for North America. With the new spending, Ford is making a significant bet on a future that envisions most drivers eventually making the shift to battery power from internal combustion engines, which have powered vehicles in the US for more than a century.
Ford CEO Jim Farley says Ford intends to lead the world in electric vehicles, a title now held by upstart Tesla. Ford picked the Kentucky and Tennessee sites in part because of lower electricity costs, Farley says, as well as being less exposed to flooding and hurricanes than other states. Battery factories use five times the electricity of a typical assembly plant to make cells and assemble them into packs, so energy costs were a big factor, Farley notes. The company also needed huge tracts of land for the plants that weren’t available in other states, he says.
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