Ford is moving quickly to solidify its position in the rapidly evolving auto industry. The company announced Monday it has broken ground at its BlueOval battery plant as part of its joint venture agreement with SK Innovation. The battery plant is expected to play a critical role in achieving the automaker’s 2 million run rate goal by 2026 by producing batteries for future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.
Ford opened a new chapter in the automaker’s almost 120-year history as it announced plans to manufacture EV battery cells and arrays in May 2021. CEO Jim Farley proclaimed, “We will not cede our future to anyone else,” after entering into a joint venture with SK Innovation to produce around 60 GWh of annual starting mid-decade.
The battery park is part of Ford’s strategy to vertically integrate and build up its domestic EV supply chain.
Speaking at an event in Detroit last month, Farley told reporters the company was “going back to our model A,” referencing when Ford built most of (if not all) components in-house. Ford looks to return to its roots as it transitions the EV era, building parts in-house “because that’s where the value creation is.”
After jumping out of the gate this year with the highly anticipated F-150 Lightning electric pickup release, Ford has claimed the number-two spot in the US EV market through November.
However, Farley and the rest of the team at Ford are not content with second place. Farley explains, “We want to be number one.”
Ford is striving to produce 2 million electric vehicles annually by 2030, which the company estimates will require around 240 GWh of battery cell capacity. According to Ford, its new EV battery park will play a significant role in getting there.
Ford’s new EV battery plant is on track to begin production in 2025
In a press release from Ford, the company says construction progress at the BlueOVal SK Battery Park is “on schedule” to start production in 2025. So far, Ford has made significant progress at the 2.3-square-mile EV battery factory moving 4.3 million cubic yards of soil (enough to fill 200 football stadiums!), laying stone, pouring concrete, and installing the foundations.
SK On president and CEO Jee Dong-seob explains how the battery facility can accelerate the North American EV market, saying:
BlueOval SK Battery Park will be at the core of the electrification of the North American auto market. We expect SK On and Ford’s leadership in the global electric vehicle market to be solidified through BlueOval SK.
The project is the most significant economic development project in the state of Kentucky and will employ around 5,000 new workers with high-tech jobs.
David Hahm, BlueOval SK CEO, commented on the project, stating:
At BlueOval SK Battery Park, we’re building the future – state-of-the-art batteries for future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles and a bright future for the workforce in Kentucky. In order to produce these batteries, we need a premier workforce that is trained in the latest battery and advanced manufacturing technology.
Ford’s SK EV Battery Plant will train around 5,000 new workers at the BlueOval SK Training Center when it opens in 2024. If you are interested in learning more about employment opportunities at the new Ford battery park, you can visit here.