Ford Installs Production Equipment at its BlueOval City Campus in Tennessee

Ford’s BlueOval City campus in Stanton, Tenn., is taking shape as robotic training cells, conveyors, paint spray booths, and stamping press lines are installed at the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant.
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Photo by Ford

Ford’s BlueOval City campus in Stanton, Tenn., is taking shape as robotic training cells, conveyors, paint spray booths, and stamping press lines are installed at the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant.

As the work in the plant progresses, Ford is prioritizing education, environmental protection, and local engagement to help ensure west Tennessee residents benefit from the growth BlueOval City will bring.

Ford plans to develop local talent for jobs at the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center through its BlueOval Learning initiative. Training will be comprehensive, with online, classroom and hands-on segments designed to prepare employees to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot equipment in their areas.

The Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center will use the latest Ford manufacturing equipment, where employees will train on machine vision systems for robot guidance and quality assurance, automated pick-and-place material handling, sealer and adhesive dispensing systems, and various automated mechanical joining technologies, among several other manufacturing processes.

The company will begin hiring hourly employees in 2025 to ensure employees are on board and trained to support customer deliveries of the next-gen electric truck beginning in 2026.

Prospective employees can meet with Ford representatives at the new Ford Tennessee Discovery Center in Brownsville, Tenn., once it opens later this year. Community members also will be welcome to experience advanced manufacturing through virtual reality simulations at the Discovery Center.

“We have been humbled by the warm hospitality extended to us by our new neighbors in west Tennessee,” says Kel Kearns, plant manager, Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center at BlueOval City. “As the company that helped create the American middle class, we want residents in every community around the region to benefit as BlueOval City comes to life.”

As construction of BlueOval City progresses in Tennessee, Ford’s vision for an efficient and carbon-neutral manufacturing facility is becoming a reality. From its earliest conception, BlueOval City was designed to help minimize impact on the local environment and to protect the local community.

“We recognize the significance of farming, fishing and hunting in West Tennessee,” says Blake Newbill, senior environmental engineer, Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center. “And we understand that part of being a good neighbor is caring for the air, water and land so these important resources are preserved for our community.”

Ford is investing in carbon-free and renewable electricity in west Tennessee to help strengthen the local energy grid and reduce air emissions. The company’s goal is for the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant to use carbon-free electricity.

New technology aims to help reduce the amount of electricity needed to manufacture vehicles, including innovations that will capture and reuse heat from the site’s utility infrastructure and geothermal energy system to provide heat for the assembly plant — saving about 300 million cubic feet of natural gas typically needed each year to heat similarly sized vehicle assembly plants.

To further help protect air quality, Ford plans to install state-of-the art systems that will help limit emissions with no uncontrolled exhausts from painting operations. The air emission limits for Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center are the most stringent of any U.S. assembly plant.

The campus’ new utility system will save approximately 50 million gallons of water each year by reducing evaporation from the site’s cooling towers. Plus, the zero-waste-to-landfill Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center plans to reuse industrial water from across the site to preserve the use of fresh water in the plant for drinking water and other basic human needs.

This facility will also follow best practices Ford has implemented in its facilities around the world to reduce and reuse water. Ford has saved 199 billion gallons of water in its global manufacturing operations since 2000.

The facility aims to incorporate environmental designs, safeguards and structures to carefully control materials used in the manufacturing process and to prevent them from having contact with stormwater runoff and soil.

The complex will not store chemicals or other materials underground, and chemical storage structures will incorporate multi-level safeguards like back-up and secondary containment systems and sealed flooring with drainage to a dedicated wastewater collection system. Ford also intends to develop a holistic stormwater management system.

Ford formed the Equitable Growth Advisory Council in 2023, bringing together community leaders from across West Tennessee to share their insights. The council studies barriers that might prevent residents and local businesses from participating in upcoming economic growth, based in part on research and surveys led by the University of Tennessee at Martin.

“We are honored to join West Tennessee residents in shaping the future of their community,” says Gabby Bruno, Ford’s director, community relations. “The Equitable Growth Advisory Council continues to develop a comprehensive Good Neighbor Plan with investment priorities driven by resident feedback, and we look forward to sharing details in the coming weeks.”

Ford and Ford Philanthropy, the company’s global philanthropic arm formerly called Ford Fund, spent more than 1,000 hours listening to community input and learning about local priorities.

Donations from Ford and Ford Philanthropy total $21 million so far in west Tennessee, including $1.2 million in capital grants. Funding supports youth programs such as the Brownsville and Jackson Boys and Girls Club, Project Ready in Partnership with the National Urban League and Junior Achievement; essential service providers like United Way, Mid-South Food Bank and Fayette Cares; first responders such as the Stanton Volunteer Fire Department; and Mason Fire Department; and more.

“Through the first quarter of 2024, we distributed more than 10,000 pounds of food that assisted close to 400 families each month, thanks in part to the grant we received from Ford Philanthropy,” says Alexandra Porto, CEO, Fayette Cares, which provides homelessness and domestic violence prevention and intervention services. “The installation of the security gate openers and the re-surfacing of the parking lot has made it safer for the dozens of families who stayed at our emergency shelter last year.”

Ford Philanthropy plans to offer additional local grants in 2024. The philanthropic arm will also make a significant announcement in June about how it will support the Stanton community with other resources.