Ford breaks ground on $5.6B Tennessee EV project

Dive Brief:

  • Detroit-based general contractor Walbridge broke ground on Ford’s $5.6 billion battery and electric vehicle manufacturing campus, dubbed BlueOval City, last week near Stanton, Tennessee, according to a company announcement.
  • The facility, which is on track to be completed in 2025, will create approximately 6,000 jobs when it opens and is the most advanced auto production complex in Ford history, according to the announcement.
  • The construction of electric vehicle factories in the U.S. is expected to increase in coming years, especially due to backing from the federal government. That includes $7.5 billion in funding for battery infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the recently passed $52 billion CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act’s EV tax credit.

Dive Insight:

Crews erected structural steel on site less than one year after Ford and SK On, a South Korea-based battery maker, announced the $5.6 billion investment in West Tennessee.

The site sits on a 6-square-mile mega campus, and will be a major component in bringing Ford closer to its target of a 2 million EV production run rate globally by late 2026, according to the announcement.

Significant progress had already been made since March, when Ford and Walbridge began preparing the land for construction. So far, crews have moved more than 4.6 million cubic yards of soil, laid nearly 370,000 tons of stone and installed more than 4,600 deep foundations. 

The project team also has awarded work to dozens of subcontractors and is taking bids for many others, according to Walbridge.

EV plant construction has been heating up across the country. The sector was pegged as one of the most recession-proof in the construction industry, especially off the back of the passage of the $52 billion CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America, told Construction Dive.

For example, General Motors announced Friday it will invest $760 million at its Toledo, Ohio, factory, the automaker’s first U.S. powertrain facility repurposed for EV-related production, according to a GM press release. Panasonic will build a $4 billion battery production facility in De Soto, Kansas, as it looks to expand capacity to meet rising electric vehicle demand.

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