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'Nothing short of incredible': Beshear gets first look inside Hardin Co. electric vehicle battery plant

Office of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

The largest electric vehicle battery plant in the world is taking shape in Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear toured the construction site on Wednesday for a pair of factories that will produce EV batteries for Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

The BlueOval SK campus just off Interstate 65 in Glendale is expected to employ around 5,000 people once operations begin in 2025.

"It is nothing short of incredible. This project is the largest in the history of the commonwealth of Kentucky by far. The best news I can give you is the project is on schedule," Beshear told reporters following the tour. "What you see when you walk inside is how massive and technologically advanced this plant will be.”

Beshear got a firsthand look at what's known as Kentucky 1, the first of two plants that will total more than eight million square feet.

“You’ll see iron workers, sheet metal workers. So much of what they’re putting in right now is infrastructure within the building," Beshear said. "What you’ll also see if they’re all smiling. Everyone in here, especially from Kentucky, get what they are doing, and this is years of employment for them."

Kentucky 1 is scheduled to be completed in Dec. 2024, with operations beginning in Jan. 2025. Construction on the second factory, Kentucky 2, hasn't begin yet and is expected to be finished in Dec. 2025. Each facility will employ roughly 2,500 workers.

Plant Manager Ryan Wheeler said factory equipment will arrive by the end of the year, and a team from South Korea-based SK will also arrive to help assemble the equipment and train employees on its use.

BlueOval SK already has its leadership team in place, as well as engineers. Hiring is currently underwayfor maintenance technicians and hourly production workers.

The plants will bring Ford closer to its target of producing two million electric vehicles globally by the end of 2026.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.