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Everything to know about Ford’s massive electric vehicle investment and manufacturing plants

The automaker says it will build four plants at two different “mega-sites,” one outside of Memphis, the other in rural Kentucky.

Everything to know about Ford’s massive electric vehicle investment and manufacturing plants
[Photo: a-Taiga/iStock]

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.

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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.”

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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.

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