Ford plans $11.4bn investment to boost EV manufacturing in the US

28 Sep 2021

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck. Image: Ford

Alongside Korean company SK Innovation, the automaker is building two major new vehicle and battery factories in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ford has said that $11.4bn will be put into building new facilities to boost the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).

The automaker announced the project, which it’s undertaking with South Korean battery company SK Innovation, yesterday (27 September). The investment is to centre around two “mega-sites” in Tennessee and Kentucky, which Ford said will employ 11,000 workers. $7bn of the total investment will come from Ford.

The $5.6bn Tennessee site, based near the town of Stanton, will be called Blue Oval City. This campus will manufacture electric versions of Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks, as well as building batteries and hosting recycling facilities.

The site “is designed to be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill once fully operational”, the company said.

The Kentucky site, the BlueOvalSK Battery Park, will cost about $5.8bn. It will be home to twin battery-making plants to supply Ford vehicles as well as those made under the company’s luxury brand, Lincoln.

Alongside new manufacturing capacity, Ford said it’s putting $525m into training technicians in the US to service EVs, focusing in particular on Texas.

Ford’s executive chair, Bill Ford, said he believed “this is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing”.

“With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive – protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity,” he added.

Ford said that there is “strong demand” for the electric version of its F-150 truck. But, despite growth, EVs continue to represent a very small segment of the overall US car market.

According to Pew Research, plug-in hybrid, all-electric and fuel cell vehicles make up about 2pc of new vehicle registrations in the US currently, compared to 5.7pc in China and 11.3pc in the UK. However, 39pc of Americans said they’d consider buying electric next time they purchase a vehicle.

Earlier this month, Toyota announced it’s planning to invest $13.6bn in EV batteries over the next nine years.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin