By Forrest Berkshire, EditorTuesday, September 28, 2021 at 6:42 pm THE KENTUCKY STANDARD
Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday a $5 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Glendale that will bring 5,000 jobs to the region.
“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.
The $5.8 billion investment will impact surrounding counties, including Nelson.
“I love the fact that it is Ford,” said Kim Huston, President of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency. “Just like what happened with Toyota, when a company of this size comes into our region, we know — and hope and keep our fingers crossed — that we will benefit from the suppliers that will be locating around the region.”
Huston said any county within an hour of Glendale will be affected.
There are already several Ford suppliers in Nelson County, and Huston said there are many people who live in Nelson and commute to Louisville to work in its manufacturing facility.
“I think another thing that excites me about this project is we have generations of families who have worked at Ford. So, I can see even that next generation getting into the battery, into the electric vehicle type of production, because this isn’t going to be any longer of a drive to this facility than is driving down to Louisville to the Ford plants.”
The megasite that sits in southern Hardin County near Interstate 65 is about a half-hour from Bardstown.
Ford’s plans for twin battery plants in Glendale was one of two projects Ford announced as it invests heavily in electric vehicles.
Together with its battery partner, SK Innovation of South Korea, Ford said it would also invest $5.6 billion in Stanton, Tenn., where it will produce electric F-Series pickups. Ford predicts 40% to 50% of its U.S. sales will be electric by 2030. For now, only about 1% of vehicles on America’s roads are powered by electricity.
The state developed the Glendale megasite following a failed bid in 2002 to lure a Hyundai manufacturing facility.
“We’ve been fishing for this fish for 20 years and I think we’ve caught a whale,” Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said Monday.
The facility will be named BlueOvalSK Battery Park and Ford intends for it to be in operation by 2025. Ford’s partner, 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.
“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.”