Ford, South Korea invests $ 11.4 billion to add electric F-150 plant, three battery plants


Detroit / Seoul-Ford Motor Company and its Korean battery partner SK Innovation have invested $ 11.4 billion to build an electric F-150 assembly plant and three battery plants in the United States, an electric vehicle from a US automaker. Accelerate entry into.

Ford said on Monday that it expects 40% to 50% of the world’s cars to be fully electric by 2030, up from the previous forecast of 40%.

Ford will open an assembly plant and battery plant in Stanton, Tennessee, and two battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky, as part of Ford’s previously announced plan to spend more than $ 30 billion on electrification by 2030. We plan to create about 11,000 jobs by adding. The factories at both sites will open in 2025.

The announcement on Monday is the only largest manufacturing investment in Ford’s 118-year history.

Ford North America Chief Operating Officer Lisa Drake said Reuters when the Tennessee assembly and battery complex is about three times the size of Ford’s vast 100-year-old Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan. Said in an interview. She emphasized that there is room for expansion of the site.

“For us, this is a very transformative point and we are allocating capital in a very large way to lead the transition to EVs,” says Drake.

The second US automaker portion of the investment is $ 7 billion, with SK covering the rest. The two companies will invest $ 5.8 billion in Kentucky and $ 5.6 billion in Tennessee.

South Korean battery makers that supply batteries for electric vehicles to Ford Motor and Hyundai Motor have battery production bases in the United States, Hungary, China and South Korea.

With the addition of three battery plants and two battery plants in Georgia, SK Innovation plans to secure approximately 150 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery capacity annually in the United States.

SK Innovation said it expects to exceed its goal of securing a battery with an annual production capacity of 200 GWh worldwide by 2025. The current production capacity is 40GWh.

The stock price of SK Innovation rose 3.6%, hitting a record high of 260,500 won in the morning trading for nearly two weeks, but the KOSPI fell 0.8% in the market as a whole. Ford closed 2.8 percent on Monday.

Ford, which plans to launch the electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck next spring, has taken a more aggressive move to develop its EV strategy under Jim Farley, who took over as CEO last October. Earlier this month, Ford doubled its planned production capacity for the F-150 Lightning in Dearborn, Michigan each year. This is due to the strong demand for electric pickups before their launch.

Ford-All Electric-F-150
A prototype of Ford’s all-electric F-150 Lightning Truck will be seen on September 16, 2021 at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. (Rebecca Cook / Reuters)

Ford and other automakers are preparing for EV deployment as countries and regions such as China and Europe want to significantly reduce vehicle emissions.

The planned lithium-ion battery plant is based on a memorandum of understanding issued by Ford and SK in May. According to Drake, the battery plant is co-owned with SK and has a total annual capacity of 129 GWh, which can power about 2.2 million EVs when fully operational, at the level 2 outlined in May. It will be more than doubled. The new capacity is sufficient to power more than one million EVs.

Ford previously stated that its global EV program requires at least 240 GWh of battery cell capacity by 2030. This equates to about 10 plants located in North America, Europe and China. SK states that it aims to increase the world’s annual battery capacity to over 200 GWh in 2025.

Tennessee Mega Campus

As part of Monday’s announcement, Ford will build a 3,600-acre “megacampus” in western Tennessee called Blue Oval City, employ 5,800 people, and assemble plants, lithium-ion battery producers and suppliers, Drake said. Including the park. Blue Oval plays Ford’s name for its corporate logo.

According to Drake, the new Tennessee assembly plant will use a dedicated EV platform to build the next generation of Lightning following its launch next year. The first Lightning model will be built on a platform that is heavily derived from the gasoline-powered F-150.

Drake did not disclose the planned production capacity of its Tennessee truck plant.

The site also includes a zero waste to landfill process for collecting materials and scrap.

In the heart of Kentucky, Ford will build the BlueOval SK Battery Park, which employs 5,000 people. Starting in 2025, the site will consist of two plants that manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in Ford and Lincoln. The second factory will open the following year.

These companies will receive a $ 500 million incentive from Tennessee, about $ 300 million, and more than 1,500 acres of land from Kentucky.

The United Auto Workers, which represents Ford’s US hour workers, said automakers have a “moral obligation” to ensure that battery factory jobs are high-paying union jobs. Drake said it would be decided by the workers, but added that Ford emphasized to SK that it should not be an anti-union.

The announcement on Monday is based on Ford’s contract last week to partner with Redwood Materials to form a circulating supply chain for EV batteries, from raw materials to recycling. Redwood will be located at Ford’s Tennessee site.

Ford will spend $ 525 million separately over the next five years to fund vocational training and career preparation initiatives for U.S. automotive engineers to help prepare for the transition to EVs on Monday. Said. The program begins in Texas, where Ford alone spends $ 90 million.

Ben Clayman