Ford Motor Company is getting ready to make the largest manufacturing investment in its 118-year history, and, no surprise, it’s a move to phase out gas-powered vehicles and catch up to Tesla, the rival now worth more than Ford and GM combined.
This hard pivot to electric vehicles will entail a massive $11.4 billion investment of capital—which Ford will share with Korea’s SK Innovation, its primary battery maker—to build four plants at two different “mega-sites,” one outside of Memphis, the other in rural Kentucky. Ford will have to singlehandedly plow $7 billion into the venture, which it says should yield 11,000 new jobs by 2025, enabling the company to produce more than 1 million electric vehicles per year at that point.
The Memphis-area campus, dubbed Blue Oval City, is supposed to include a new plant that cranks out electric pickup trucks. This will let the automaker expanded its electric truck line. Ford only has an electric SUV right now, the Mach-E, but it’s announced plans to begin producing an all-electric truck as well, the F-150 Lightning. Blue Oval City will occupy 3,600 acres (or almost six square miles), cost $5.6 billion to complete, create 6,000 jobs, and include a new standalone battery plant. According to Ford, it also “aspires” to run on 100% renewable energy, contribute zero waste to landfills, and reuse every drop of water, to “ensure our planet is in it for the long haul.”
We’re building our first mega campus in more than a generation. The all-new mega campus just outside of Memphis, called Blue Oval City, aspires to have 100% renewable energy, zero waste to landfill, and reusing every drop of water, to ensure our planet is in it for the long haul. pic.twitter.com/O97N9X3ek2
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) September 27, 2021
The other location, in Glendale, Kentucky, was given the slightly less roll-off-the-tongue name of BlueOvalSK Battery Park. As that name suggests, it’s slated to be exclusively a battery-manufacturing hub supplying Ford’s expanded roster of electric vehicles. It’s a 1,500-acre campus that will cost $5.8 billion, and is expected to create 5,000 jobs when it opens in 2025.
Ford’s top executives are already pitching the investment as an industrywide game-changer. “We’re on the cusp of a revolution” is how executive chairman Bill Ford put it, while CEO Jim Farley called it “our moment—our biggest investment ever—to help build a better future for America.” Farley also seems to have worked in a quick Tesla dig: “We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few.”
Both campuses are part of Ford’s broader $30 billion investment into electric vehicles through the year 2025. The company has said it expects 40% to 50% of its vehicle volume worldwide to be fully electric by the end of this decade.