Ford on Monday announced its largest single manufacturing investment ever—$11.4 billion, which will include the creation of nearly 11,000 new jobs at two mammoth manufacturing complexes in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The announcement was coordinated with a somewhat stepped-up target: Ford now plans for 40 to 50 percent of its global vehicle sales volume to be all-electric by 2030. Just earlier this year Ford announced a target of 40 percent.
The new plans include two mammoth manufacturing complexes, one called Blue Oval City, in west Tennessee, and the other called BlueOvalSK Battery Park, in central Kentucky. Ford will build both of the complexes.
Blue Oval City is described as a “3,600-acre mega campus,” and the automaker says that it will be “the largest, most advanced, and efficient facility in Ford’s history.” It will include a new vehicle assembly plant, a battery production plant, and a supplier park.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pre-production
The Blue Oval City plant will produce electric trucks, including the next-generation version of the F-150 Lightning. Ford recently announced that it would be boosting production of the upcoming (first-generation) F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 80,000 annually.
Ford said that the site will include processes to capture material from scrap, establishing zero waste to landfill. It also announced last week that it’s working with former Tesla CTO JB Straubel’s Redwood Materials to create a scaled-up, closed-loop domestic supply chain for EVs.
In central Kentucky, twin battery plants will operate at a BlueOvalSK Battery Park, producing cells to power “a new lineup of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles coming to market later this decade,” according to the release.
BlueOvalSK Battery Park – rendering, September 2021
It appears that Ford might still be turning to other battery suppliers on a smaller scale even after the new complexes ramp up. Ford disclosed that the two three new plants will allow a combined annual capacity of 129 GWh. When Ford announced its joint venture with SK Innovation in May, it expected to need about 140 GWh in the U.S. and 240 GWh globally. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is made in Mexico and uses LG cells sourced from a factory in Poland.
Ford said that vehicle and battery production at the new Tennessee and Kentucky facilities start in 2025.
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