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Ford breaks ground on $5.6 billion Tennessee mega-campus

Ford Motor Co. has officially broken ground on BlueOval City, the $5.6 billion electric-vehicle assembly, battery production and supplier campus the automaker is building in West Tennessee with a joint-venture partner.

Just under a year ago, Ford announced what it described as its largest-ever manufacturing investment. The company and partner SK Innovation are spending $11.4 billion and adding 11,000 new jobs to build EVs and assemble battery packs at campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky.

BlueOval City is slated to include a vehicle assembly plant, a battery plant jointly operated by Ford and SK, as well as supplier facilities and battery recycling operations. The roughly six-square-mile campus is being built on the outskirts of a small town called Stanton in a rural part of West Tennessee. The project site is situated on the Memphis Regional Megasite, a massive greenfield site northeast of Memphis that state and local officials spent years preparing for a large-scale development of this kind.

When the campus is fully operational, it's slated to employ nearly 6,000 people. It will support production of the next generation of electric F-Series pickup trucks, on which Ford has not yet provided additional details. Production is scheduled to start in 2025.

Ford said Friday that structural steel has gone up on the site. And since site preparation began earlier this year, the automaker said that crews have moved more than 4.6 million cubic yards of soil; laid nearly 370,000 tons of stone; and installed more than 4,600 deep foundations.

“We are building the future right here in West Tennessee,” Eric Grubb, Ford’s director of new footprint construction, said in a statement. “This facility is the blueprint for Ford’s future manufacturing facilities and will enable Ford to help lead America’s shift to electric vehicles.”

In a statement, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said the project would "have a transformational impact on Tennesseans and our economy, and we're proud this global company will call Haywood County home."

Ford is targeting annual EV production of 600,000 units by the end of next year and 2 million by late 2026. The addition of BlueOval City will play a key role in helping Ford scale up EV production.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski