FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and executives of the Ford Motor Company took a stage Tuesday outside the State Capitol to formally announce the company's $5.8 billion investment in two electric battery manufacturing plants in rural Hardin County.
The 1,500-acre campus near Interstate 65 in Glendale — to be called BlueOvalSK Battery Park — is set to open in 2025, Ford said, and will bring 5,000 new jobs to Hardin County.
Beshear said the plants mark the "single-largest investment in the history of the state" and the largest number of jobs ever announced at one time.
"And they are good-wage jobs," he said.
The plants are part of $11.4 billion in new investment from Ford and South Korean battery-maker SK Innovation, adding 11,000 jobs to Glendale as well as another plant in Stanton, Tennessee, just northeast of Memphis. Ford CEO Jim Farley said the two plants will have the capacity to produce 1 million batteries per year, which is twice as many batteries annually built in North America.
"When you look at Ford's two plants in Louisville, they employ 13,000 people, but they create 120,000 jobs, and we don't have a supply chain for battery plants in America," Beshear said. "The jobs that will be created up and down stream is thrilling."
Calling this a "new era of sustainable manufacturing," Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said he believes competition will follow the lead set by these new electric battery plants.
"The next revolution in manufacturing will be an American revolution — a revolution led by Ford Motor Company — and it starts right here in the Bluegrass State," he said. "We have an opportunity to make our customers' lives better and to also make the world better."
The plants are bound to mean big business and maybe even a population boom for Hardin County, especially Glendale. And there, some businesses already thinking about what it means for foot traffic here.
"When the impact of the Ford plant starts being felt, I think the community will change," said Gerald Rush, co-owner of Bennie's Barn Antique Mall.
Ford said the batteries made at the plant will go into both Ford and Lincoln vehicles made at the company's assembly plants in North America. Ford expects at least 40% of global sales to be electric vehicles by 2030.
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