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HomeEventsFord plans Blue Oval City for electric vehicle production

Ford plans Blue Oval City for electric vehicle production

Project hopes to have better success than Henry Ford’s Fordlandia or Muscle Shoals efforts

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Let’s hope Ford’s Blue Oval City fares better than the company founder’s Fordlandia project of a former era.

This past week Ford announced plans for the Blue Oval City, an $11.4-billion investment in a mega campus in Tennessee and twin battery plants in Kentucky. The “city” would employ 11,000 people and power a new lineup of advanced electric vehicles, Ford said.

For some, the announcement kindled memories of Fordlandia, Henry Ford’s failed effort in the 1920s to create a city in the Brazilian Amazon forest to produce rubber. What the effort did produce was an award-winning book, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, by New York University professor Greg Grandin. And in that book, Grandin also notes other attempts by Henry Ford to establish cities, from River Rouge and Alberta in Michigan to his proposal for Muscle Shoals, a city in Alabama on the Tennessee River.

By the way, Ford wasn’t the only automaker in the city-establishment business. Oldsmar, established in Florida by Ransom E. Olds, celebrated its centennial in 2016.

Ford plans Blue Oval City for electric vehicle production
BlueOvalSK Battery Park to be built in Kentucky

Nearly a century later, Ford’s dream may be coming true, though not on the Tennessee River but near Stanton, northeast of Memphis, at Blue Oval City, which also appears to stretch some 300 miles to the northeast, to Glendale, Kentucky, just south of Louisville.

Henry Ford’s Muscle Shoals was planned for a narrow strip that would have stretched 75 miles along the riverbank.

The new Ford plan calls for Blue Oval City on a 6-square-mile site in Tennessee to produce electric-powered F-Series pickup trucks. In Kentucky, BlueOvalSK Battery Park would have twin battery production facilities for use in Ford and Lincoln EVs. A third battery park plant would also be part of the Tennessee project.

Ford said the Kentucky location was chosen because it is centrally located for supplying a variety of Ford assembly plants in North America.

The SK in the battery park name represents SK Innovation, a South Korean energy company that is Ford’s partner in the project.

Ford also announced a major project to train auto technicians for working on its growing portfolio of connected electric vehicles.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why isn’t Blue Oval city in the shape of the iconic Ford Blue Oval? Answer: lack of vision. They had a chance at a Global marketing home run, but swing and a miss….. seems to me a chip plant would be more prudent at this time. Electric cars need them as well…..

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