'A win for rural Tennessee.' Lawmakers approve Ford Megasite plan; here's a look at the project

Posted at 1:27 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 19:19:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee lawmakers have approved plans for Ford to build a massive production factory for electric vehicles and batteries in West Tennessee.

WHAT WE KNOW | The investment will:
  • Generate 27,000 direct and indirect jobs
  • Contribute $3.5 billion each year to Tennessee’s gross state product
  • Provide $22.4 million each year in state tax revenue

The Tennessee House passed the bill first Wednesday during a special session to discuss plans to build the site. The Senate later passed the same version of the bill.

After the special session wrapped, Gov. Bill Lee called it an "important day for our state," and said it was a win particular for rural Tennessee, adding that the investment will impact generations to come.

WATCH: Lee speaks after lawmakers approve plans for Ford Megasite

Lee speaks after lawmakers approve plans for Ford Megasite

The Ford Megasite, or Blue Oval City project, would be located near a small town in between Memphis and Jackson. This week, lawmakers talked with state agencies involved in the project about how it would work.

Ford and South Korea-based company SK Innovation have partnered to build a 3,600-acre mega campus on the Memphis Regional Megasite, where production of next generation all-electric F-Series trucks will begin in 2025.

It's a dramatic investment in the future of EV technology that will create an estimated 10,800 jobs and shift the automaker’s future manufacturing footprint toward the South. The $5.6 billion investment will be the "largest, most advanced and most efficient automotive production campus in Ford’s history."

WATCH: Tennessee Dems speak after lawmakers approve Ford Megasite

Tennessee Dems speak after lawmakers approve Ford Megasite

The factories will be built on sites in Kentucky and Tennessee. SK Innovation will make batteries for the next generation of Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles that will be produced in North America. Combined, they mark the single largest manufacturing investment the 118-year-old company has ever made and are among the largest factory outlays in the world.

The state will create new infrastructure to support the Megasite, including a $40 million Tennessee College of Applied Technology to "strengthen Tennessee’s workforce." The state will also build and operate the water and wastewater systems to serve the site.

The state said the Tennessee Department of Transportation will build a second interchange on I-40 to improve traffic flow and support population growth.

In-Depth: How Tennessee became the top electric car producer in the southeast