Ford Motor Co. is teaming with SK Innovation to bring two massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses to Tennessee and Kentucky, producing the next generation of electric F-series trucks and the batteries that will power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
BlueOvalSK is a new joint venture to be formed by Ford and SK Innovation, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions.
The $11.4 billion investment will create nearly 11,000 new jobs in the two Southern states.
Blue Oval City is an all-new $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, Tennessee, which will create approximately 6,000 jobs and reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured.
Blue Oval City will be vertically integrated, where the expanded electric F-series vehicles will be assembled. Included in Blue Oval City will be a BlueOvalSK battery plant, key suppliers and recycling. The plant will be designed to be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill once fully operational.
In central Kentucky, Ford plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with SK Innovation — a $5.8 billion BlueOvalSK Battery Park — creating 5,000 jobs. The twin battery plants on the site are intended to supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries to power next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
“This is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing,” said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. “With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive — protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”
Ford’s $7 billion investment is the largest ever manufacturing investment at one time by any automotive manufacturer in the U.S. Part of Ford’s more-than-$30 billion investment in electric vehicles through 2025, this investment supports the company’s longer-term goal to create a sustainable American manufacturing ecosystem. Overall, Ford expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.
Electric vehicle battery supplier SK Innovation is investing $4.32 billion in these three battery plants.
“We are proud to be partnering with Ford as they open a new chapter in automobile history,” said Dongseob Jee, president of battery business for SK Innovation. “We are excited to be taking this decisive leap together, as partners, and to bring about our common vision for a cleaner planet. Our joint venture, BlueOvalSK, will embody this spirit of collaboration.”
Blue Oval City is a 3,600-acre campus covering 6 square miles, and encompassing vehicle assembly, a supplier park and battery assembly. The plant will use always-on cloud-connected technologies and is designed to be sustainable, including using local renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar and wind power. Blue Oval City will include an on-site wastewater treatment plant, which will help the assembly plant to make zero freshwater withdrawals for assembly processes. In addition, Blue Oval City will capture materials and production scrap at an on-site materials collection center to sort and route materials for recycling or processing either at the plant or at off-site facilities. Ford plans to start production at Blue Oval City in 2025.
“West Tennessee is primed to deliver the workforce and quality of life needed to create the next great American success story with Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.
The BlueOvalSK battery manufacturing campus sits on 1,500 acres in Glendale, Kentucky, and also is targeted to open in 2025, with twin co-located plants capable of producing up to 43 gigawatt hours each for a total of 86 gigawatt hours annually. The approximately 5,000 workers at BlueOvalSK Battery Park will produce American-made batteries that will power electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.
“This is the single largest investment in the history of our state, and this project solidifies our leadership role in the future of the automotive manufacturing industry,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “It will transform our economy, creating a better Kentucky, with more opportunities for our families for generations.”
The three BlueOvalSK battery plants — two in Kentucky and one in Tennessee — will enable 129 gigawatt hours a year of U.S. production capacity for Ford.
Just last week, Ford announced a collaboration with battery materials company Redwood Materials to localize the supply chain network. The joint endeavor will create recycling options for scrap and end-of-life vehicles and ramp up lithium-ion recycling within the U.S. Ford believes battery recycling is essential for an electrified future and has the potential to offer significant economic benefits, as well as help solve for end-of-life battery recycling.
Ford is also investing $90 million in Texas, going toward job training and career readiness initiatives for the current and next generation of technicians. These programs will help develop highly skilled technicians to support Ford’s growing portfolio of connected electric vehicles.
SK Innovation, founded in South Korea in 1962 as an oil refining company, also has two electric battery assembly sites in Georgia, the latest of which was announced in July 2020. SK Innovation engages in diverse areas of business, including exploration and production, batteries and information and electronics materials. SK Innovation is preparing to split off its battery business in early October as a wholly owned subsidiary to accelerate business growth and promote corporate value.