Ford accelerates EV battery production launch for its 43GWh Kentucky and Tennessee plants
South Korea's SK Innovation, which has build a partnership with Ford over U.S. battery production for its electric vehicles worth US$4.3 billion, will be pulling production plans forward, reports local media. Due to Ford's massive portfolio electrification push, and the fact that its Mustang Mach-E is now the second most popular electric SUV in America, the expected launch timeframe of the carmaker's battery factories has apparently been sped up significantly. Recently, Ford announced that it will invest up to US$20 billion more on top of its US$30 billion EV commitment by 2030. Its F-150 Lightning electric pickup is also proving immensely popular and Ford warned dealers about price markups, demanding that sales contracts prevent buyers from reselling their F-150 Lightnings in the first year of ownership to avoid scalping issues.
Ford wants to have a production capacity for 600,000 electric vehicles by 2023 and gradually become the "true EV leader" in the U.S., surpassing Tesla. These plans can only mean an insatiable demand for EV batteries, so Ford has reportedly worked with SK On, the battery subsidiary of SK Innovation, to start production in their joint battery factories in the U.S. three months ahead of schedule. The Ford-SK partnership over battery development and manufacturing is called Blue Oval SK and will be placing orders for the new Kentucky battery plant (BOSK1) equipment as soon as this year. The second Ford battery factory, in Tennessee, is denoted as BOSK2, and Blue Oval SK has similar plans for its production lines launch. After the battery making equipment order is fulfilled, installation may start next year, "with commercial production beginning in 2024."
Ford's Kentucky and Tennessee battery factories are expected to have 17 production lines and be able to churn out 43 GWh each in battery capacity annually. This should tide Ford over for the initial stage of its vehicle roster electrification plans but a third battery factory, known internally as BOSK3, will be started as soon as the Kentucky and Tennessee plants are fully operational, too. Ford's EV batteries that will be produced on American soil are said to be both long-axis (600mm) units, as well as the more orthodox 300mm ones. According to the Korean industry insiders, the acceleration of Ford and SK Group's battery-making plans comes hot on the heels of generous U.S. government incentives for the EV transition era, as well as the fact that the American electric car market is currently growing leaps and bounds.