FRANKFORT, Ky. — Ford is once again investing in Kentucky, but this time with the company's biggest project yet: turning an empty field in Hardin County into two electric battery plants that will power electric vehicles -- the future of Ford.
It also happens to be the largest investment in Kentucky history. On Tuesday at the State Capitol, Gov. Andy Beshear and Ford executives -- including Executive Chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford, Bill Ford -- made the deal official in front of dozens of state leaders and investors.
“A revolution led by Ford Motor Company, and it starts right here in the Bluegrass State," Ford said.
Gov. Beshear said he wants Kentucky to capture the attention of the world. He believes Ford’s record investment in Glendale will do just that -- bringing thousands of more jobs beyond the project alone.
"I said that advanced manufacturing was an area where Kentucky was poised to be a national leader, if we had the vision and the will to be bold," Gov. Beshear said on a large stage set up on the State Capitol building's front lawn. “What we’re going to draw, the jobs that are going to be created -- up and downstream -- is thrilling."
The plans are to build twin electric battery plants in Hardin County, where hundreds of thousands of batteries to power electric vehicles will be manufactured and shipped across the country, furthering the motor giant's EV mission while creating 5,000 jobs for Kentuckians.
“Floods and extreme temperatures that threaten food and water supplies here in Kentucky are fast becoming the norm rather than the exception, and we see all of this as a call to action," Ford said.
Gov. Beshear said he's already getting calls from electric vehicle suppliers who now want to come to Kentucky, which could mean even more jobs on the way.
Many on Tuesday asked the question: Why Glendale?
Gov. Beshear said size -- more than 1500 acres -- played a huge role, and Ford executives also pointed toward the farmland's high energy potential.
"They take five times the energy," Ford CEO Jim Farley said.
Meanwhile, predicting true economic impact can be difficult. University of Kentucky experts helped fill us in.
“It will likely be purchasing some inputs, services, things of that nature from businesses in the area," said Mike Clark, associate professor of economics at the University of Kentucky.
We asked if they foresee any potential downsides or negative impacts to the move.
“That area could change, property values could go up as you see workers maybe look to locate their workers nearby," Clark said.
The BlueOvalSK battery park is set to open in 2025. State leaders and Ford executives said it's full speed ahead.
“Every nation will know where Kentucky is and who we are," Gov. Beshear said.