electric vehicles

Ford picks Memphis Regional Megasite for $5.6B electric vehicle and battery plant

Ford is announcing plans to build a $5.6 billion electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility on the sprawling Memphis Regional Megasite. The Dearborn, Mich-based automaker said the project dubbed Blue Oval City will create nearly 6,000 jobs.

Gov. Bill Lee said he will call a special session in the coming weeks for lawmakers to approve a $500 million incentive package for the project slated to comprise nearly all of the 6.5-square-mile site in Haywood County. Lee noted that Tennessee will join Indiana as the only states where four auto companies produce vehicles. The Volunteer State’s existing manufacturers, General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen also have made heavy investments in electric vehicles.

Ford plant is projected to start assembling electric F-Series trucks in 2025 and the joint venture with South Korea’s SK Innovation is slated to begin making batteries there the same year. Company officials say it is Ford’s first all-new plant to be commissioned since 1969.

The Ford F-150 Lightning Electric Truck. (Image credit: Ford)

The ongoing development of the megasite has been a subject of a yearslong debate among lawmakers and politicians, some of whom have complained it was too big, remote, and expensive. According to an outside study previously commissioned by the Lee administration, 18 prospects had considered — but decided against — the megasite, including five original equipment manufacturers, five battery or stored energy companies, six tiremakers, one data center, and an appliance manufacturer.

Here’s the full release from Ford:

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Report ranks Tennessee 20th for transportation electrification (UPDATED)

Gov. Bill Lee attends a groundbreaking ceremony for an electric vehicle expansion of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga on November 13, 2019. (Image credit: State of Tennessee)

While automakers with assembly plants in Tennessee are ramping up plans to churn out more electric vehicles, the state is receiving middling grades for policies promoting zero-emissions transportation.

According to the report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Tennessee ranks 20th in the country. Top-rated California received 91 out of 100 possible points, followed by New York (64.5 points), the District of Columbia (59 points), Maryland (56 points) and Massachusetts (54.5 points).

Tennessee received 30.5 points on the group’s scale, placing it behind Virginia (36 points) and North Carolina (31.5 points) in the Southeast.

Tennessee was awarded seven of 17 possible points for planning an goals, 9.5 of 30 for incentives for electric vehicle deployment, one of 12 for transportation system efficiency, 5.5 of 10 for electric grid organization, two of 10 for equity, and 5.5 of 21 for outcomes.

UPDATE: The state and the Tennessee Valley Authority on Wednesday announced a partnership to develop a statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network. Under the agreement, charging stations will be located every 50 miles along interstates and major highways.

The full release follows.

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