Ford Motor Company and battery maker SK Innovation plan to spend $ 11.4 billion to build two sprawling campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce batteries as well as the next generation of F-Series electric trucks – a project that, according to the companies, will create 11,000 new jobs.
The facilities on both campuses are designed to cover the entire ecosystem of building an electric vehicle. from the production and recycling of battery cells to a fleet of suppliers and an assembly plant. Ford is contributing $ 7 billion to the project, the largest manufacturing investment in its 118-year history. The investment is part of Ford’s previously announced plan to invest $ 30 billion in electric vehicles by 2025.
The automaker also said it will spend $ 525 million over the next five years on high-tech skills training across the United States, starting with Texas. The investment will focus on training automotive technicians to support Ford’s next wave of electric and connected vehicles.
Ford’s “mega campus” plans – the first facility the automaker has built in a generation – are intended to support its growing portfolio of electric vehicles, including the Mustang Mach-E, the Ford E-Transit van and the upcoming F-150 Lightning pickup, which has already received more than 150,000 pre-orders from customers. It’s also part of the company’s strategy to reduce battery costs to $ 80 per kilowatt hour.
âThe timing of these investments is very important as we see critical mass for a transition to battery-electric vehicles on the horizon,â Lisa Drake, Ford North America COO, said during a press conference on Monday. “And we’ve seen proof of that already in the industry and now through our own recent product launches.”
And Ford is optimistic about the demand for electric vehicles. The company predicts that a third of the full-size pickup segment will be fully electric by 2030, Drake noted.
Monday’s announcement follows a series of planned investments by Ford, including an injection of $ 250 million and 450 new jobs to increase the production capacity of its upcoming F-150 Lightning to 80,000 all-electric trucks per year . Those funds and jobs will be distributed across its Rouge electric vehicle center in Dearborn, Michigan, Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center and Rawsonville Components Plant, Ford said.
It has also been less than a week since Ford announced plans to partner with Redwood Materials to create a closed-loop system that will cover recycling of production waste and end-of-life electric vehicles, as well as supply to the automotive manufacturer of raw materials for batteries. Securing a supply of batteries – or the materials to make them – has prompted the auto industry to partner with cell manufacturers and increasingly look to companies like Redwood Materials.
Drake provided more details of the partnership on Monday, noting that Redwood Materials will set up a recycling facility at its so-called Blue Oval City campus near Memphis, Tennessee.
Once completed. the $ 5.6 billion campus in Stanton, Tennessee will rival the size and population of a small village. The 3,600-acre campus, or nearly 6 square miles, will be designed as a closed-loop manufacturing center. This means that the materials used in production can be reused to make new electric vehicles.
The campus will have a battery production plant operated in partnership with SK, a fleet of suppliers and an assembly plant dedicated to F series electric trucks. The battery manufacturing plant will be able to to produce 43 gigawatt hours of cellular capacity. Ford has said the assembly plant will be designed to be carbon neutral from the start of production in 2025.
Ford has announced that it will build twin battery factories on the campus in central Kentucky, Glendale. The batteries produced in the factories will be used in a new line of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles later this decade. The production of lithium-ion batteries is expected to start in 2025.
The 1,500-acre battery campus, which Ford calls BlueOvalSK Battery Park, will cost about $ 5.8 billion and employ 5,000 people. The twin battery factories will be capable of producing up to 43 gigawatt hours each for a total of 86 gigawatt hours per year. The addition of the third battery cell plant in Tennessee will bring the total capacity to 129 GWh, according to Yoosuk Kim, executive vice president and global head of marketing at SK.
In total, that’s enough capacity to power more than a million electric vehicles, Drake said.
Ford has previously said its global plans for battery-electric vehicles called for at least 240 gigawatt hours of battery cell capacity by 2030. That’s about the capacity of 10 factories. Ford has previously said 140 GWh will be needed in North America, with the balance going to other regions, including Europe and China.