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'At the forefront': Louisville Ford dealer says record investment comes as electric vehicle demand surges

Ford's multi-billion dollar investment to build two battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky, has one Louisville dealership pointing to a changing mindset in the state.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some are calling it a window of opportunity, where supply can meet growing demand for electric cars.

Ford's multi-billion dollar investment to build two battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky, has one Louisville dealership pointing to a changing mindset in the state. As evidenced by the 98 public charging stations across Jefferson County, the electric car movement is on the up.

And the large project planned to open in Hardin County in 2025 is expected to supplement that surge.

"For Kentucky, [it's been] a little slower moving going along with this," said Evan Patrick, manager at the Bill Collins Ford dealership.

The thought process is changing: Where Kentuckians want to be in decades to come, and what choices they'll make on the road to come out ahead. 

"By 2035, we want to go all electric. Well, some of these manufacturers are starting to wake up and realize this is where the future's going," Patrick said.

"Like any new technology, certain parts of the country take off a little quicker," said Shane Collins, Executive General Manager at Bill Collins Ford.

With its record investment to build twin battery plants in Glendale, Ford showed its cards: A huge chunk of its eco-friendly future will come from within the Commonwealth, even through trucks.

"And we're just getting started," Gov. Andy Beshear said at the official announcement in Frankfort on Tuesday.

It's a priority experts say people within the state are buying into now more than ever.

"We have more people asking about hybrids, asking about electric vehicles," Patrick said.

The Bill Collins Ford dealership on Bardstown Road says electric vehicles like the Ford Mustang Mach-E already are seeing orders multiply.

"We've sold every one we have," Collins said. "It's about 6 to 8 weeks to order something from start to finish, [but] right now we're telling people generally speaking more like 10 to 12 weeks."

And when the all-electric Ford F-150 pickup truck, called the Lightning, hits their lots in 2022, they expect the requests to swell. 150,000 of them are already on pre-order across the country.

It's a demand state leaders and locals hope will strongly be supported by hundreds of thousands of batteries produced in the state starting in 2025.

"We get to be at the forefront and work with them hand in hand," Collins said.

You may remember the Kentucky General Assembly passed a $410 million economic incentive package this month that was aimed at getting large investment scale projects into the state. As part of that package, Ford will be able to take advantage of up to $250 million in forgivable loans and $36 million of skills training investment.

RELATED: Will Ford bring Hardin County similar growth as Toyota plant in Georgetown?

RELATED: 'The will to be bold' | Kentucky governor, Ford executives officially announce $5.8B battery plant project

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