Ford Is Making Its Biggest Investment Ever to Build Electric Vehicles
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While Ford Motor Co. has never been hesitant about electric vehicles (EVs), the automaker has recently shown that it’s ready to go all-in. Ford is electrifying its business model by making its biggest manufacturing investment to date and dedicating $7 billion to EV production.
This investment, which was made in partnership with South Korea-based energy company SK Innovations, is expected to open up over 10,000 new jobs. The total investment price split between the two companies is a whopping $11.4 billion, according to CNN Business.
Ford is partnering with SK Innovations, a South Korea-based energy company, to make its biggest-ever investment in electric vehicles, totaling $11.4 billion.
Ford’s electrifying plunge into electric vehicles
While Ford has dabbled in electric for a large part of its 118-year history, it only got into the mainstream EV market last year.
In 2020, Ford released the Mustang Mach-E, its first fully electric mainstream vehicle, to resounding success. The company’s first all-electric van, the Ford E-Transit, will launch later in 2021, and its first all-electric truck, the Ford F-150 Lightning, will launch in 2022.
Ford is no stranger to EV production, but now they’re pulling out all the stops—a shrewd move, considering the ballooning electric market. Ford has recently announced that it intends to spend $30 billion on EV production by 2025, and that it aims for fully electric vehicles to represent 40% of its global sales by 2030.
Ford has also announced its plan to support the training of EV repair technicians, who will be in great demand once EVs really take off. The company intends to invest $525 million into this endeavour.
Ford’s electric vehicle plan includes two new production sites
The two Ford EV production sites are located in Kentucky and Tennessee. Management is predicting that they will require 11,000 employees to operate the sites’ three electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants, as well as their electric pickup truck factory.
The Tennessee-based site, Blue Oval City, will span 3,600 acres, triple the size of Ford’s River Rouge Complex in Michigan. This site will be home base for 5,800 employees and will include facilities for battery materials recycling, battery manufacturing, and electric F-series truck manufacturing.
Moreover, Ford insists that the site will include space for suppliers. This year’s global semiconductor chip shortage caused major delays to auto production and caused the company’s car sales to plummet. In response, Ford resolved to retain more control over its supply chain, and is particularly adamant about keeping its suppliers close when it comes to EV batteries.
Ford’s Kentucky-based site, BlueOvalSK Battery Park, will employ 5,000 workers and focus on battery manufacturing. This site will include two battery manufacturing plants, identical to the one at the Tennessee site, and will produce lithium-ion batteries. The three factories will initiate battery production in 2025, according to Ford executives.
Ford says that America must support the auto industry’s transition to electric
In an interview with CNN, Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley, urged the American government to funnel resources into supporting the country’s burgeoning EV market. Farley suggested that EVs would be the cars of the future, and that without a robust electric market, America risked falling behind.
He added that the transition to electric would be tricky without the government’s backing, however, since a major shift toward electric vehicles use would require the proper infrastructure, supply chains, and funding, all of which would need to be supplemented by the government.
“We need support to help customers make this transition financially,” Farley said in the interview. “These are expensive vehicles.”
He notes that in many European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, as well as in China, the government has prioritized the transition to electric vehicles, subsidizing and funding the industry so that individual consumers are empowered to buy. “We need that support,” he said.
Ford’s Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Drake, is similarly optimistic about EVs’ potential. “The EV future is going to transform over the next few decades, and we want to be able to grow the capacity as the EV market expands,” she said to CNN. Drake added that for this reason, Ford would ensure that their new Tennessee site included space for future expansion.
Ford is investing not only in electric vehicles, but also in a more sustainable future
Not only will Ford’s new manufacturing sites be producing environmentally friendly vehicles, but the sites themselves will practice what they preach.
Ford has announced that its facilities at Blue Oval City will be entirely carbon neutral, and that its factories will dispose of waste conscientiously—that is, through non-landfill methods. For example, Blue Oval City will have on-site battery materials recycling available, so as to reduce waste.
The company’s battery materials recycling will be done by Redwood Materials, in which Ford recently invested $50 million. Redwood recovers elements such as cobalt, copper, nickel, and lithium from discarded batteries, and boasts a recovery rate of over 95%.