Ford unveils radical $9.54 billion EV production plan

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Ford will build electric commercial vehicles at new Tennessee site and batteries at Kentucky ‘gigafactory’

Ford will invest some US$7 billion (AUD$9.54 billion) in building the “largest, most advanced, most efficient auto production complex in its 118-year history”, claiming it’s the largest single investment in electric vehicles by any American manufacturer.

As part of a drive to scale up its US-market EV offering, Ford will build two new dedicated “mega-sites”.

The new US$5.6 billion (AUD$7.67 billion) Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee, will comprise a factory for electric F-Series pick-up trucks, a battery-manufacturing facility and an on-site recycling and supplier network.

Ford anticipates that it will create 6000 new jobs but will send no waste to landfill and be wholly carbon-neutral. It will be one of the largest vehicle production sites in the US, spanning across some 3600 acres, powered in part by sustainable sources including solar and wind power and using always-on cloud-based technology to improve quality and productivity levels.

Ford has revealed the F-150 Lightning as its first electric pick-up and has promised to expand its offering with more F-badged EVs. The family currently extends from the huge-selling F-150 right up to the F-750 heavy-duty commercial truck.

Meanwhile, Ford and new technical partner SK Innovation will invest some US$5.8 billion (AUD$7.91 billion) in a dedicated battery factory in Kentucky. Called the Blue Oval SK Battery Park, it will employ around 5000 people across two separate plants that will build power units for Ford and Lincoln EVs.

This facility is set to open in 2025 and will have a total battery production capacity of 86GWh per year.

Ford CEO Jim Farley hailed the announcement as “our biggest investment ever” and said it will “help build a better future for America”.

He added: “We’re moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few. It’s about creating good jobs that support American families, an ultra-efficient, carbon-neutral manufacturing system and a growing business that delivers value for communities, dealers and shareholders.”

The allocation forms part of Ford’s previously announced plan to invest more than US$30 billion (AUD$40.95 billion) in EVs by 2026. It expects 40-50% of its global vehicle sales to be fully electric by 2030.

Felix Page

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