LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's been nearly a year since Ford Motor Company announced a nearly $6 billion investment into Kentucky to build twin electric battery plants in Hardin County, to further what the automaker sees as the future.
Now, we're getting a better understanding of the timeline for construction from Jiem Cranney, chief financial officer of BlueOval SK -- a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation.
"We're breaking ground, we're basically working on clearing the site," he said. "We'll probably be going vertical toward the end of this year."
Governor Andy Beshear called it the biggest economic development project in state history plans to produce hundreds of thousands of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) around the country. It would also create 5,000 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
Developers have begun early digging on the more than 1,500 acres of open land that'll be transformed into a mega site in Glendale, Kentucky.
"We really see a future in this, driven by what the consumer is looking for," Cranney said.
But Cranney admits there's been pushback within the state from drivers who are skeptical of investing in EVs. They're worried the current infrastructure won't support them.
On Tuesday, Shane Collins, general manager at Bill Collins Ford in Louisville, told WHAS11 he's noticed the same hesitation, saying they haven't quite seen the spike in demand locally they'd hoped for -- at least not yet.
It comes as just last week, Beshear announced nearly $70 million to develop a statewide charging network.
"We feel that over time, as the infrastructure improves, there's going to be a greater acceptance of electric vehicles," Cranney said.
Cranney is hopeful Kentucky drivers have a change of heart, saying the team has been doing outreach and trying to integrate themselves in the community they're going to be a part of in the near future.
Ford expects one plant to be open for operation by 2025 and the other by 2026.