Investing in e-mobility in the USA

Pickup truck

One of the automaker’s new factories is set to produce the electric version of the F-150.

(Photo: Reuters)

new York The US car company Ford is serious about its plans for e-mobility. The company plans to build a total of four factories in Tennessee and Kentucky – three of them battery factories for electric cars, one for the production of the electric version of the successful F-150 pickup. The factories are to supply the group with batteries for one million cars a year.

Ford wants to put seven billion dollars into the project and is working with the South Korean manufacturer SK Innovation. SK plans to invest 4.4 billion in the project. For Ford, it is the largest investment in the company’s history.

The latest announcement is a sign that Americans want to catch up with e-cars. With Tesla, the US has the electric car pioneer in its own country. But the other big corporations like General Motors (GM), Ford and Chrysler have long rested on the good business of fuel-guzzling SUVs and pickups.

Only GM, under its CEO Mary Barra, has been initiating the transition to electric drives for a number of years. At the beginning of the year, she announced that she wanted to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine by 2035.

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Ford, on the other hand, had stuck to the classic strategy for a long time and only tentatively made its first attempts in the world of e-mobility. It was only under Ford CEO Jim Farley, who has been in office for almost a year, that a rethink is taking place. Farley cited the success of the American classic Mustang as an E version as the reason for the decision.

Not only Tesla is building battery factories

“We are moving forward to deliver resounding electric vehicles for the crowd instead of just a few,” Farley said, not least of all in distancing himself from Tesla. In addition, the planned factories created 11,000 new jobs, he emphasized.

There are currently five battery factories in operation in the USA: two of them from Tesla, and one each from LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation and Envision AESC – a joint venture between Nissan Motor, NEC and NEC Energy Devices founded in 2007.

In total, more than a dozen new so-called gigafactories are currently planned. In addition to the VW battery factory, this also includes General Motors’. Geographically, three regions have emerged as locations in the USA: the US West, the area around the Detroit auto location and the southern state of Tennessee and neighboring regions.

Volkswagen is also currently building its battery plant in Tennessee. In Chattanooga, the robots are already doing their test runs so that they can get started next year. GM is currently building its first Ultium battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio – 100 miles from Detroit. Another is now also planned in Tennessee. Tesla, on the other hand, wants to open its new Gigafacory in Texas at the end of the year. The new course towards e-mobility is also supported by the government in Washington.

More: So far, the US president has only been able to tackle a small part of his climate goals. The infrastructure package planned for this week is also not very green.

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