Climate Vs. Jobs? Ford And Its New $11.4 Billion EV And Battery Plants Say STFU.
Ford Motor Company announced yesterday that it's partnering with South Korean energy firm SK Innovation to build two new factories in Tennessee and Kentucky to manufacture electric vehicles and the batteries that go in 'em. The two complexes — wait, they're "hubs!" — will employ some 11,000 workers total when they open in 2025.
The Detroit Newsreports the plant in Tennessee, to be called "Blue Oval City," will manufacture Ford's new electric F-series pickups in a
"vertically integrated ecosystem" consisting of a vehicle assembly plant, a battery plant jointly operated by Ford and SK, as well as facilities for suppliers and battery recycling operations. Ford says the new assembly plant will be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill when it's fully operational in 2025.
Ford says it will be "among the largest auto manufacturing campuses in US history."
Ford and SK will also construct two battery factories in Kentucky, which will produce batteries to be used in Ford and Lincoln EVs built at other assembly plants around North America. An industry insider we just made up right now said the Kentucky and Tennessee sites were "chosen deliberately to fuck with Doktor Zoom," who can never keep the two states straight.
In a press release, Ford kvelled that the company's $7 billion share in the joint venture will be "the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer," and that the company intends to "lead America's transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing," according to Executive Chair Bill Ford.
The press release said the new plants are part of a more than $30 billion investment in EVs, and that it "expects 40% to 50% of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030."
Jim Farley, Ford's president and CEO, said that the company's EV offerings will aim at expanding the market for EVs beyond wealthy early tech adopters and granola-munching greenies, albeit not in those exact terms: "We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few." We aren't sure if that was a Star Trek reference or not.
Marketing bafflegab aside, Ford's green bafflegab about the Tennessee plant sounds pretty darned impressive:
Through an on-site wastewater treatment plant, the assembly plant aspires to make zero freshwater withdrawals for assembly processes by incorporating water reuse and recycling systems. Zero-waste-to-landfill processes will capture materials and production scrap at an on-site materials collection center to sort and route materials for recycling or processing either at the plant or at off-site facilities once the plant is operational.
That sounds pretty good, as does the goal of "localizing the supply chain network, creating recycling options for scrap and end-of-life vehicles, and ramping up lithium-ion recycling," which Ford says is vital to making EVs a sustainable business. Seems like a good idea to focus on. You certainly wouldn't want to have too many lithium ions in the fire.
Also too, the artist's rendering of Blue Oval City in Tennessee looks pretty nifty, what with the employee parking all covered with solar panels.
Ford Motor Company
You know what would be pretty damn nice? For Congress to pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill and get a bunch of EV recharging infrastructure and grid upgrades built, plus tax credits for people buying all those EVs.
If we get to feeling all socialisty, we can even fantasize about future legislation that would make it easier for lower-income folks to trade their gas guzzlers for an EV. Like Obama's cash for clunkers, but juiced. Eventually, all those cars out there running on Direct Current might even demand DC statehood.
And that's all for your current news.
[Detroit News / WaPo / Ford]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.