Ford to invest $5.6B in Memphis-area site to build all-electric trucks, batteries

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(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ford Motor Company has selected the Memphis Regional Megasite for an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing campus that state officials are calling transformational, Gov. Bill Lee’s office announced Monday.

The 3,600-acre project, called Blue Oval City, is a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation. It will result in a $5.6 billion investment in the region and an estimated 5,800 jobs, Lee’s office said.

Production of next-generation all-electric F-Series trucks will begin at the rural West Tennessee site in 2025.

“Tennessee is playing a key role in leading American advanced manufacturing, and we are thrilled to make this historic investment in West Tennessee to create Blue Oval City,” said Lisa Drake, Ford North America chief operating officer. “This once-in-a-generation investment will create thousands of high-quality jobs and support America’s transition to electric vehicles. Tennessee will play a critical role as Ford continues to lead the electric vehicle revolution, tackle climate change, and create the jobs of tomorrow, and we look forward to working to create the future together.”

The Greater Memphis Chamber called the project “the largest single investment in Tennessee’s history.”

“This project will be world-changing for people in Memphis and West Tennessee,” said Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “But it’s also deeply personal for me. Back in 1958, Ford relocated its South Memphis plant to Ohio and my grandfather was unable to relocate. Now, 63 years later, I get to be on the team that brought Ford back. It makes this win that much sweeter.”

Chamber President and CEO Beverly Robertson said Memphis and Ford have a history together.

“Back in 1913, Ford produced wooden wheels and body foundations for Model T Fords in Memphis. Now — 108 years later — they’re returning to transform the Memphis market and make eco-friendly, carbon-neutral manufacturing the gold standard of the automotive industry,” she said.

Ford Motor Company executives will be joined by Lee and other government officials for an official announcement in Memphis on Tuesday morning.

The State of Tennessee intends to offer an enhanced incentive totaling more than $500 million for successful completion of the project.

“Today is a truly remarkable day for West Tennessee and the entire region. Ford’s investment in the Megasite will bring in thousands of jobs and will reshape West Tennessee’s economy for generations to come,” U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-8th District) said in a statement.

The Memphis Regional Megasite sits along Interstate 40 about 30 miles northeast of Memphis. The state began marketing the site in 2015 after about a decade of development. But as recently as four months ago, state officials were still searching for a tenant.

The state has estimated the total investment in the wastewater and water infrastructure at the site at $52 million.

“It’s actually difficult to overstate the significance of this announcement and the potential for transformative change in an underserved area of the state,” said state Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis).

State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) said the state is committed to providing the skilled workforce needed for the high-tech new jobs.

“Many of us in the legislature have worked for many years to promote the Memphis Megasite, and I’m thrilled to see Governor Lee bring this dream to reality,” Kelsey said.

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