MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Ford Motor Co. introduced the F-150 Lightning in May, CEO Jim Farley said it would be a measuring stick to gauge customer acceptance for electric vehicles.
But Ford had no intention to wait for the results. At that same time, behind the scenes, the automaker was forging ahead on plans for its next-generation electric pickup and a trio of battery plants to power 1 million Ford and Lincoln EVs a year. Those plans crystallized last week in the form of an $11.4 billion investment that will create 11,000 jobs building EVs and batteries in Tennessee and Kentucky.
It's the clearest sign yet that Farley wants Ford to be a major player — if not the leader — in EVs. Since ascending to the chief executive office last year, he has nearly tripled Ford's spending on electrification and inked major partnerships for battery production and recycling.