Ford on Friday broke ground on its $5.6 billion BlueOval City complex in Tennessee, the epicenter for its future electric vehicles and a key milestone on its way to its goal of selling 2 million electric vehicles annually by the end of 2026.
BlueOval City is scheduled to begin building advanced batteries for future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles in 2025, including the F-150 Lightning and a second battery electric pickup.
The automaker calls BlueOval City its “largest and most advanced auto manufacturing complex” in the company’s 119-year history. Overall, the $11.4 billion joint venture with South Korean battery maker Sk On will create approximately 6,000 jobs at the new, six-square-mile mega-campus near Memphis, Tennessee, as well as two battery factories in Glendale, Kentucky.
“This facility is the blueprint for Ford’s future manufacturing facilities and will enable Ford to power America’s transition to electric vehicles,” Eric Grubb, Ford’s director of new footprint design, said in a statement.
Ford and its construction partners began preparing the land in March and have so far moved enough earth to fill 34,500 backyard swimming pools and laid enough tons of stone to build the Statue of Liberty 1,600 times, according to the company.
The automaker’s share price plummeted 15% this week after it announced on Monday that third-quarter supplier costs will be $1 billion higher than expected due to rising inflation and ongoing supply chain problems. Shares were trading at $12.30 as of 10:00 a.m. ET on Friday, compared to $14.50 when the market opened on Monday.
Ford also said continued auto parts shortages will cause up to 45,000 unfinished vehicles — mostly high-margin trucks and SUVs — to be bottlenecked at its plants through September. Still, the automaker reiterated its full-year guidance of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion for earnings before interest and taxes on backlog demand for vehicles produced in the fourth quarter.
On Thursday, Ford announced leadership changes as it works to scale Ford Model e, the standalone electric vehicle business formed in March to support the automaker’s $50 billion investment in electrification and vehicle technology through 2026.
Doug Field has been appointed chief advanced product development and technology officer with responsibility for EV products, advanced driver assistance, software and digital systems development, and design and vehicle hardware engineering.
Lisa Drake, Vice President of EV Industrialization, will lead manufacturing engineering. Chuck Gray, Ford’s vice president of EV Technology, is now responsible for developing the vehicle’s hardware.