Ford announced on Monday that it would spend billions of dollars building three battery factories and one electric truck plant in the US, creating 11,000 jobs over the next four years. The company described the investment, with which it will be able to produce more than one million electric vehicles annually from the second half of this decade, as the largest single investment in its 118-year history.
Ford and its South Korean supplier SK Innovation intend to spend a total of 11.4 billion US dollars on the project. 7 billion US dollars should come from Ford, SK Innovation wants to invest 4.4 billion US dollars, the company said. The announcement is part of the automaker’s program to switch to electric vehicles to combat climate change.
The two battery plants are to be built in Kentucky and Tennessee, all as a joint venture with its main supplier of battery cells, SK Innovation from South Korea. An assembly plant for the production of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck and a larger, battery-powered F-series pickup truck are to be built at the Tennessee location, for which the company has not yet published any further details.
The Tennessee plants will be located in Stanton, about 50 miles northeast of Memphis, and at six square miles will be significantly larger than the Ford Rouge plant Henry Ford built in Detroit a century ago. 6,000 people are said to work in Tennessee. Suppliers, a battery recycling company and truck and battery factories are to be located there.
“Tremendous demand for electric vehicles”
The two plants in Kentucky are being built in Glendale around 80 kilometers south of Louisville and are expected to create 5,000 jobs. The batteries produced there are to be installed in electric vehicles from Ford and its Lincoln brand.
“We now have a tremendous demand for our electric vehicles, and that will help us to get faster,” quoted the New York Times Ford CEO Jim Farley. The Ford Mustang Mach-E went into production this year, an electric delivery van will be added by the end of the year and the electric pick-up Ford F-150 Lightning will be added next spring, for which there are already 150,000 reservations.
Ambitions this year were compounded by the semiconductor shortage that has affected production for automakers around the world. Ford announced that the supply of computer chips had improved and that the number of vehicles produced in the third quarter of the year would be “significantly higher” compared to the second quarter.