The single-largest manufacturing investment in Kentucky history will be announced today and it’s coming to Glendale.

The industrial megasite, which has sat waiting for two decades, will be home to twin manufacturing plants covering 1,500 acres and produce batteries for next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

A stage was being built Monday in front of the Capitol in Frankfort for the $5.8 billion announcement that comes with a promise of 5,000 new jobs in Hardin County.

“This is the single largest investment in the history of our state and this project solidifies our leadership role in the future of the automotive manufacturing industry,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement released Monday evening. “It will transform our economy, creating a better Kentucky, with more opportunities, for our families for generations. Our economy is on fire — or maybe it’s electric. Our time is now. Our future is now.”

Judge-Executive Harry Berry described his reaction as “ecstatic” and said he expects the jobs to impact a 10-county region and likely beyond.

“We’ve been fishing for this fish for 20 years and I think we’ve caught a whale,” Berry said Monday.

It will be known as the BlueOvalSK Battery Park and is targeted to open in 2025.

“This is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing,” Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford said. “With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive — protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

In May, Ford and SK Innovation signed a formal memorandum and announced a joint venture to manufacture battery cells and arrays in North America. The Glendale site was selected for the battery manufacturing campus because it is centrally located to best support Ford’s North American assembly plants’ footprint, a company statement said.

SK Innovations is known as a leading innovator in development of high-nickel technology for production of advanced lithium-ion batteries. Industry reports about the joint venture with Ford say the company’s research has focused on commercial uses of the technology.

The twin co-located plants will be capable of producing up to 43 gigawatt hours each for a total of 86 gigawatt hours annually, according to a news release providing background on the plans.

The announcement is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at the Capitol with Ford Motor Company executives joined by Gov. Beshear and other government officials, including Berry and state Rep. Jim DuPlessis who represents the area.

Because of COVID-related restrictions, attendance will be limited at the Frankfort announcement but it can be viewed live online at https://ford.to/liveevent2.

The Kentucky announcement is only one part of Ford’s efforts to bring electric vehicles at scale to American consumers. Ford also will be announcing an all-new $5.6 billion large-scale plant in Stanton, Tennessee, called Blue Oval City, which will create approximately 6,000 new jobs and use batteries produced in Glendale for future Ford and Lincoln models including F-Series trucks.

Ford said its announcement comes amid strong demand for the all-new Ford F-150 Lightning truck, E-Transit and Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles and is on top of Ford’s recent announcement to expand production capacity and add jobs at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford’s portion of the $11.4 billion investment in the two states comes to $7 billion, which the company called its largest manufacturing investment in its 118-year history.

“This is our moment — our biggest investment ever — to help build a better future for America,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few. It’s about creating good jobs that support American families, an ultra-efficient, carbon-neutral manufacturing system, and a growing business that delivers value for communities, dealers and shareholders.”

Ford said its investment supports the company’s longer-term goal to create a sustainable American manufacturing ecosystem and to accelerate its progress towards achieving carbon neutrality, backed by science-based targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Overall, Ford expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

(1) comment

Likeitis

Hooray for Hardin County and it’s present and future generations. Hooray for clean energy powering the vehicles of the future.

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