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Rendering of Ford's Blue Oval City manufacturing complex planned for Tennessee. Image: Ford

Ford is making a historic investment in electric vehicle manufacturing with an $11.4 billion plan to build a new EV assembly plant and at least three battery factories, employing nearly 11,000 people.

Why it matters: The plan is an all-in bet on the biggest transformation of the auto industry since the dawn of the horseless carriage more than a century ago.

The big picture: Ford says its plan is the company's largest single manufacturing investment in its 118-year history and the first step in creating a sustainable U.S. supply chain for electric vehicles.

  • The vision could also seal the legacy of Bill Ford, the 64-year-old great-grandson of Henry Ford.

Details: Ford is planning a 3,600-acre "mega campus" in Stanton, Tennessee, about 50 miles northeast of Memphis.

  • The complex, dubbed Blue Oval City, will be "the largest, most advanced, and efficient facility in Ford’s history," the company says.
  • It will include a battery plant and related supplier facilities as well as a new vehicle assembly plant, where Ford plans to expand production of electric F-series pickup trucks.

In Kentucky, Ford will build twin battery plants in a new complex called BlueOvalSK Battery Park about 50 miles south of Louisville.

  • It is a joint venture with Ford's South Korean battery partner, SK Innovation.
  • Production of advanced lithium-ion batteries will begin in 2025, to power future Ford and Lincoln EVs.

Context: Ford had been laying the groundwork for Monday's news in a string of recent EV-related announcements.

  • The automaker said last week it will partner with battery recycling company Redwood Materials on a domestic supply chain for electric vehicle batteries that relies on closed-loop recycling.
  • Redwood will likely build a recycling and processing facility on the Blue Oval City campus, but those details have yet to be shared.
  • Ford also said recently it is investing $250 million in Michigan to boost production of its upcoming F-150 Lightning electric pickup to meet soaring demand.

For the time being, at least, Ford — like other automakers — will have to continue importing battery cells and raw materials from Asia, where most battery production is based. But eventually, it aims to create a so-called "circular supply chain" in the U.S. through recycling.

  • "If there’s anything we've learned from the chip shortage, it's that we need to have a U.S. supply of battery materials," said Lisa Drake, chief operating officer for North America.

What to watch: Blue Oval City will be carbon-neutral, Ford says. The facility will use solar power and technologies that conserve energy and water, as well as processes to capture scrap materials for recycling or processing.

Of note: Ford's rival, General Motors, is also investing heavily in battery manufacturing to support its aggressive rollout of EVs.

  • With its partner LG Energy Solutions, GM is building two giant battery factories in Ohio and Tennessee.

Go deeper

GM plans to double revenues by 2030 as it rolls out EVs and services

GM CEO Mary Barra. Photo: GM

General Motors plans to double its revenues over the next decade as it transitions to an all-electric future, tapping into software and subscription services that enable new vehicle experiences and connect customers' digital lives, the company told reporters on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's an extraordinary target for a lumbering industrial giant that is trying to transform itself from automaker to "platform innovator."

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."