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US car maker Ford plans shift to electric vehicles with new $11bn investment

One of US biggest car makers Ford Motor Company has said it is investing $11.4billion in building two new advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

In a release issued by the company on Monday, America’s biggest car maker said it wants to make the largest-ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation.

“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,” said Bill Ford, ford executive chair.

The company said the move will create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites and strengthen local communities. But it could also stir unease among oil producers around the world including Nigeria about the future of oil.

An all-new $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, Tenn., called Blue Oval City, will create approximately 6,000 new jobs and reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured, the company said.

Blue Oval City will become a vertically integrated ecosystem for Ford to assemble an expanded lineup of electric F-Series vehicles and will include a BlueOvalSK battery plant, key suppliers, and recycling. Ford’s new Tennessee assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill once fully operational.

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In central Kentucky, Ford plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with SK Innovation – the $5.8 billion BlueOvalSK Battery Park – creating 5,000 jobs.

Twin battery plants on the site are intended to supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries for powering next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Investments in the new Tennessee and Kentucky battery plants are planned to be made through BlueOvalSK, a new joint venture to be formed by Ford and SK Innovation, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals, and other conditions.

“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,” said Ford.

This development follows US President Biden’s vision to put electric vehicles at the heart of the U.S. car industry.

In an executive order issued in August, Biden set a new national goal that 50 percent of new car sales by 2030 be electric vehicles, casting the plan as part of an “all-out effort” to build out the country’s base of EV manufacturing and compete with China.

The goal was announced alongside the chief executives of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis NV — the country’s three biggest gas car producers.

Ford’s $7 billion investment is the largest ever manufacturing investment at one time by any automotive manufacturer in the U.S. Part of Ford’s more-than-$30 billion investment in electric vehicles through 2025, this investment supports the company’s longer-term goal to create a sustainable American manufacturing ecosystem, and to accelerate its progress towards achieving carbon neutrality, backed by science-based targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Overall, Ford expects 40 percent to 50 percent of its global vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.

Analysts said oil producers like Nigeria should prepare for energy transition and diversify their economy from fossil fuel to deal with the situation.

“Nigeria has to move quickly- diversify its income bases and design an energy transition strategy that pushes existing fossil fuel profits to clean energy development, if not we will be left standing without a chair when the music stops,” said Caleb Adebayo, energy and environmental lawyer.

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