Ford, SK to invest $11.4 bln to add electric F-150 plant, three battery factories

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The automaker now expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be all-electric by 2030, up from its prior forecast of 40%.

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DETROIT/SEOUL – Ford Motor Co and its Korean battery partner SK Innovation will invest $11.4 billion to build an electric F-150 assembly plant and three battery plants in the United States, helping the US automaker accelerate into electric vehicles.

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Ford said on Monday it now expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volumes to be all-electric by 2030, up from its prior forecast of 40%.

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Ford said the companies intend to create about 11,000 jobs by opening an assembly and battery plant in Stanton, Tennessee, and two additional battery factories in Glendale, Kentucky, with Ford expected to spend more than $30 billion through 2030 on electrification. As part of a previously announced plan, Ford said. Plants at both the locations will open in 2025.

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

The Tennessee assembly and battery complex will be nearly three times the size of Ford’s giant, century-old Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford North American chief operating officer Lisa Drake told Reuters in an interview. He emphasized that there would be room to expand on that site.

“For us, this is a very transformative point where we are now investing our capital in a very big way to lead the transition to EVs,” Drake said.

The number 2 US carmaker’s share of the investment is $7 billion, with SK covering the rest. The companies will invest $5.8 billion in Kentucky and $5.6 billion in Tennessee.

The South Korean battery maker, which supplies electric car batteries to Ford Motor and Hyundai Motor Co., has battery production sites in the United States, Hungary, China and South Korea.

With its three additional battery factories and two battery plants in Georgia, SK Innovation is poised to secure approximately 150 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery annual capacity in the United States.

SK Innovation said it expects to exceed the target of achieving an annual global production capacity of 200 GWh batteries by 2025. Its current capacity is 40 GWh.

Ford plans to add 450 jobs to ramp up F-150 Lightning production

Shares of SK Innovation rose as much as 3.6% to hit a two-week high of 260,500 won in morning trading, a 0.8% drop from broader market KOSPI. Ford closed up 2.8% on Monday.

Ford, which plans to launch the electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck next spring, has moved more aggressively to pursue its EV strategy under Jim Farley, who took over as chief executive last October. had taken over. Earlier this month, Ford doubled planned production capacity for the F-150 Lightning in Dearborn, Michigan, to 80,000 annually, as there was strong pre-launch demand for the electric pickup.

Ford and other automakers are working hard to prepare for the rollout of EVs as countries and regions such as China and Europe seek greater reductions in vehicle emissions.

The planned lithium-ion battery plants build on a memorandum of understanding announced by Ford and SK in May. Drake said the battery plants will be jointly owned by SK and have a combined annual capacity of 129 GWh batteries, which when fully operational could power about 2.2 million EVs, double the level mentioned in May. More than. The new capacity will be enough to power over one million electric vehicles.

Ford previously said that its global EV plan calls for at least 240 GW of battery cell capacity by 2030, the equivalent of about 10 plants that will be installed in North America, Europe and China. SK has said it aims to increase annual global battery capacity to more than 200 GWh in 2025.

Tennessee Mega Campus

Drake said that as part of Monday’s announcement, Ford will build a 3,600-acre “mega complex” called Blue Oval City in West Tennessee that will employ 5,800 people and will include an assembly plant, lithium-ion battery production and a Supplier Park will be included. The Blue Oval corresponds to the Ford name for its corporate logo.

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Drake said the new Tennessee assembly plant will build the next generation of Lightning using a dedicated EV platform once it launches next year. Early Lightning models would be built on a platform derived heavily from the gasoline-powered F-150.

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

The site will also include zero-waste-to-landfill procedures to capture materials and scrap.

In Central Kentucky, Ford will build BlueOvalSK Battery Park employing 5,000 people. The site will include twin plants producing lithium-ion batteries for Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles starting in 2025. The second factory will open next year.

The companies will receive $500 million in incentives from Tennessee and about $300 million, as well as more than 1,500 acres of land from Kentucky.

The United Auto Workers union, which represents Ford’s US hourly workers, has said the automaker has a “moral obligation” to ensure that any battery plant job is a well-paying union job. Drake said that would be determined by workers, but Ford stressed to SK that it should not be anti-union.

Monday’s announcement builds on Ford’s deal last week to partner with Redwood Materials to create a circular supply chain for EV batteries, from raw materials to recycling. Redwood will be located at Ford’s Tennessee site.

Ford said Monday it will set aside $525 million for on-the-job training and career readiness initiatives to help US auto technicians prepare for the change to EVs over the next five years. That program begins in Texas, where Ford alone is spending $90 million.


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