Ford and SK Innovation to spend $11 billion, create 11,000 jobs on new U.S. EV and battery plants

This article explains F
DETROIT Ford Motor, and SK Innovation, the battery supplier, plan to invest over $11.4 billion in U.S. facilities. This will create almost 11,000 jobs for electric vehicles and batteries. Ford will build twin lithium-ion batteries plants in Kentucky as part of a joint venture with South Korean company SK, BlueOvalSK. The automaker also announced Monday that a huge 3,600-acre campus is being built in West Tennessee. CNBC's Jim Farley, Ford CEO, said that the campus will feature a second battery plant, a recycling center, and a supplier park. These plans are the latest in Ford's efforts to develop and produce more electric vehicles, including batteries. Farley started leading Ford one year ago. These plans also support President Joe Biden’s call for companies and organizations to establish supply chains in the face of a global shortage semiconductor chips, which has disrupted many industries including automotive.

Rendering of Ford’s $5.6 billion campus, "Blue Oval City", in Tennessee. It will include a supplier park, a battery production facility, and a new assembly line for electric F-Series trucks. Ford

Farley's "Ford+," turnaround plan for the automaker to make its traditional operations more profitable and better position them for emerging sectors like autonomous, electric, and connected cars. Farley stated that "This is the new Ford" during a telephone interview with CNBC. It's now. We're putting shovels in to the ground, 11,000 more workers. This is a huge commitment to building these digital products. Farley said that Ford doesn't expect to take on additional debt to finance the plans. Farley stated that the company's profits will fund the moves.

This investment is in addition to the $30 billion previously stated by the company that it would invest in electric vehicles through 2025. About $7 billion of this amount had been invested prior to February. The company stated that production at the plants, except for one in Kentucky, will begin in 2025. According to Ford, the second Kentucky battery plant is expected to be online by 2026.

Farley's predecessor Jim Hackett had previously stated that the automaker didn't see any advantage in making its own batteries. The "new Ford", however, is a major shift. This investment comes at a time when Ford's rival, General Motors, spends $4.6 million through a joint venture partnership with LG Chem to produce battery cells. The production will begin in 2023. Farley stated that the investment should further prove Ford, which Wall Street thought was behind on EVs is now a leader in this segment. "I don’t know of any other company that makes this announcement. We're ahead. Why would you think that? Farley stated that we are ahead. Ford shares have nearly doubled in value since Farley was appointed CEO almost one year ago. Ford will invest $5.6 billion with SK in a new campus in Stanton Tennessee called Blue Oval City and $5.8 million in two factories in Glendale in Kentucky. According to Lisa Drake (Ford's North America chief operational officer), Ford will pay $7 billion for the $11.4 billion.

Drake stated that this was a pivotal moment in America's history. We are making the largest single investment in new manufacturing facilities during Ford's 118-year history. Ford said that the three new BlueOvalSK plants will allow Ford to produce 129 gigawatts per year, enough to power 1,000,000 electric cars annually. This is more than half the global EV production Ford expects to have by 2030. "This is truly a remarkable project, and it speaks to Ford's ambitions to the fast growing U.S. EV market," Yoosuk Kim, SK Innovation global head for marketing, said during a conference call.

Coming Soon: New F-Series

Ford expects the new vehicle manufacturing facility in Tennessee to be carbon neutral once fully operational, including zero-waste-to-landfill processes. Farley stated that the plant will produce new F-Series electric pickups. Farley stated that the next-generation pickups would be exclusively EV-powered, as opposed to the F-150 Lightning, which is based on the traditional pickup with an internal combustion motor.


"We are going to build an all electric bottom-up, optimized product platform in the plant. Farley stated that it will be the biggest plant in the company's history. There will be many F-Series electric vehicles. We won't be specific about the type. Farley stated that the company is "reinventing" what a pickup truck should be, including the range. Drake stated that Ford plans to make one-third of all full-size pickups in America fully electric by 2030. Ford's F-Series lineup currently includes the F-150, larger versions of full-size trucks, and medium-duty trucks and chassis Cabs for commercial buyers.

Farley and Drake compared Drake's new EV plants to Henry Ford's mass-production of the Model T which made cars more affordable and more accessible for the public. Ford had previously stated that it expects at least 40% of its global sales to be electric by the end this decade. This goal was set before the Biden administration announced a target for at least half of all new automobile sales to be electric, including plug-in hybrid models by 2030. Ford also stated that it plans to invest $525million over the next five year, $90 million in Texas and $525 million in training technicians to work with EVs. Drake stated that this is only the beginning of America's aspirations for a sustainable transportation economy in the 21st century. "This investment will propel us forward to lead the electric revolution."