Ford Blue Oval City EV hub construction starts

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Ford’s new Blue Oval City site – one of two planned – will produce electric pick-ups and batteries for Ford and Lincoln EVs.

Ford has broken ground on a new $5.6 billion (AUD$8.68bn) ‘nerve centre’ that will house production of electric F-series pick-up trucks and batteries for Ford and Lincoln EVs from 2025.

A joint venture with South Korean battery maker SK On, the almost 10-square-kilometre US site in West Tennessee dubbed ‘Blue Oval City’ will comprise a carbon-neutral assembly plant and a battery factory. It will create approximately 6000 jobs, according to Ford.

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Eric Grubb, Ford’s director of new footprint construction, said: “This facility is the blueprint for Ford’s future manufacturing facilities and will enable Ford to help lead America’s shift to electric vehicles.”

The site is to play a key role in fulfilling Ford’s production goal of two million electric vehicles per year, starting from late 2026.

Also supporting this goal will be a $5.8bn partner facility in Kentucky, housing two SK On battery plants and creating an additional 5000 jobs.

The Tennessee and Kentucky facilities will combine for a total annual battery output of 129GWh.

For reference, Ford said in July 2022 that it would require 60GWh to fulfil its goal of 600,000 EVs globally by late 2023.

This target comprises 270,000 Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs, 150,000 Ford E-Transit vans, 150,000 Ford F-150 Lightning pick-ups and 30,000 examples of an upcoming mid-sized SUV for Europe.

The firm also plans to produce 40GWh of lithium iron phosphate batteries – which are cheaper to make than the dominant nickel manganese cobalt chemistry – in the US from 2026.

In the meantime, Chinese battery manufacturer CATL will supply Ford with LFP cells for the Mach-E from 2023, plus the F-150 Lightning from 2024

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