Ford broke ground Friday on its $5.6 billion BlueOval City complex in Tennessee, the centerpiece of its future electric vehicles and a key milestone toward its goal of selling 2 million EVs a year by the end of 2026.
BlueOval City is set to begin manufacturing 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 “the largest, most advanced car production complex” in the company’s 119-year history. In total, the $11.4 billion joint venture with South Korean battery maker Sk On will create about 6,000 jobs at the new six-square-mile campus near Memphis, Tennessee, as well as dual battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky.
“This facility is the blueprint for Ford’s future manufacturing facilities and will allow Ford to help shift America to electric vehicles,” said Eric Grubb, Ford’s director of new footprint manufacturing.
Ford and its builders began preparing the land in March, so far hauling enough soil to fill 34,500 backyard swimming pools, placing enough tons of stone to build the Statue of Liberty 1,600 times, according to the company.
The automaker’s share price fell 15% this week after it said Monday that supplier costs would be $1 billion higher in the third quarter than expected due to rising inflation and ongoing supply chain problems. Shares were trading at $12.30 at 10 a.m. ET Friday, up from $14.50 when the market opened Monday.
Ford also said a persistent shortage of vehicle parts would clog up as many as 45,000 unfinished vehicles – mostly high-margin trucks and SUVs – at its factories by September. But the automaker reaffirmed its full-year guidance of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion for earnings before interest and taxes due to subdued demand for vehicles produced in the fourth quarter.
On Thursday, Ford announced leadership changes as it works to scale Ford Model e, the autonomous EV business unit created in March to support the automaker’s $50 billion investment in electrification and vehicle technology through 2026.
Doug Field has been named head of advanced product and technology development, overseeing EV products, advanced driver assistance and software and digital systems development, as well as vehicle hardware design and engineering.
Lisa Drake, vice president of EV manufacturing, will lead engineering. Chuck Gray, Ford’s vice president of EV technology, is now responsible for vehicle hardware engineering.