Ford will invest a total of £8.3bn building brand-new electric car production facilities in the US, the company has announced. The plan will see a vast car production plant in Tennessee built, which Ford is calling “the largest, most advanced, most efficient auto production complex in its 118-year history”.
A battery production and EV supply chain facility will also be built alongside the new factory, in a 6-mile square area called Blue Oval City, which will also include a recycling plant. A separate battery manufacturing plant is planned in Kentucky too, built in partnership with SK Innovation and called Blue Oval SK Battery Park.
Between the two sites a total of 11,000 people will be employed, the vast majority in newly created jobs. Ford says this is the biggest single investment in electric vehicles by an American Company – Tesla is American too, of course – and it forms a central role in Ford’s plan to make half of its global vehicle sales electric by 2030.
Ford has already stated its aim to electrify its entire European model range by 2030, and this announcement is part of a global £22bn investment in securing an electric future for the brand. Ford CEO Jim Fairley said: “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 Tennessee factory, which will initially build the recently announced Ford F150 Lightning electric pick-up truck, will operate on a carbon neutral basis. Most of its power will come from renewable or sustainable sources and Ford aims to send nothing to landfill.
EVs account for around 2% of sales in the US, where the technology has been relatively slow to take off. In the UK, meanwhile, battery electric vehicles (pure EVs, that is) took a 4.7% share in 2020 and are gaining ground rapidly. According to SMMT figures, year-to-date sales of EVs in 2021 make up almost 9% of the market.