Buried in the countryside of Tennessee, the town of Stanton has only 400 inhabitants. It measures half a square mile and has little more than a barbecue restaurant, a Dollar General store and two cemeteries.
Yet, in less than two years, this small town will see 6,000 workers land on its land – multiplying its population by 15 – thanks to the creation of a 3,600-acre Ford Motor factory dedicated to manufacturing electric vehicles.
“It’s extremely overwhelming, all that needs to be done.” Stanton Mayor Allan Sterbinsky recently told the the wall street journal.
Stanton is by no means alone. America’s electric car revolution sees a slew of automakers pouring billions into new factories — and they have their sights set on the rural South.
Since 2018, companies have announced more than $110 billion in electric vehicle investments in the United States. According to data from Automotive Research, a Michigan-based nonprofit, about half of that is invested exclusively in Southern states.
America’s electric car revolution sees a slew of automakers pouring billions into new factories — and they have their sights set on the rural South.
Ford called its Stanton site – named “BlueOval City” – “the most advanced automotive production complex in the company’s 119-year history”.
Other factories from other manufacturers are already being installed in Georgia and Kentucky and some sites are expected to be the size of 60 football fields.
It comes as companies compete to meet President Joe Biden’s ambitions to make two-thirds of new vehicle sales electric by 2032. He also plans to build a network of 500,000 chargers across the country.
Experts say the focus on southern states reflects the boom years of Detroit, Michigan in the early part of the 20th century, when that country was at the center of the growth of the auto industry.
In May 2022, Hyundai Motor announced plans to build an electric vehicle assembly plant and a battery plant on 3,000 acres of sandy land near the eastern Georgia border.
The $5.5 billion complex will create 8,100 jobs in the region.
Automakers’ interest in the South should come as no surprise given that local governments and technical institutes have been working for decades to attract the industry.
Among them is Scott McMurray, assistant commissioner of Georgia Quick Start, a program that will operate an employee training center near the Hyundai plant.
He told the WSJ“When the facility is ready on day one to go into full production, it will have a fully trained workforce at the same time. »
Ford called its Stanton site – which it named BlueOval City – “the most advanced automotive production complex in the company’s 119-year history”. Pictured: a Ford electric pickup truck
Stanton will see 6,000 workers descend on its land – multiplying its population by 15 – when the Ford site is built in 2025.
Since 2018, companies have announced more than $110 billion in electric vehicle investments in the United States.
Local governments and technical institutes in the South have been trying to attract industry for decades. Pictured: Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee
Additionally, Southern states tend to benefit from lower energy costs through shale drilling and greater investments in renewable energy.
Data from the US Energy Information Administration shows that the industrial price of electricity in Tennessee is 8.29 cents per kilowatt hour, while Georgia’s is 7.01 cents.
This also makes it attractive to manufacturers of electric vehicles, as the energy consumption of its battery manufacturing facilities is up to five times higher than that of a traditional factory, according to the WSJ.
But turning these rural areas into industrial havens is no small feat – and authorities face immense complexities.
In Stanton, for example, the region not only needs to build housing for 6,000 new workers, but it also needs to strengthen its local school system for their families. The region is even planning to create its very first police force.
Currently, law enforcement in the city is overseen by the county sheriff.
Southern states tend to benefit from lower energy costs thanks to shale drilling and greater investments in renewable energy. Pictured: Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee
Stanton now needs to build housing for 6,000 new workers, but it also needs to bolster its local school system for their families. The region is even planning to create its very first police force. Pictured: Blue Oval City
These developments come as consumers still seem hesitant to invest in electric vehicles.
Historically, they have been too expensive for the average consumer, but a host of federal initiatives have driven their costs down.
Ten US electric vehicle models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax reduction, while seven other models receive a $3,750 credit.
However, a recent survey by DailyMail.com seems to show that such initiatives are failing.
Only 29% of those surveyed said the tax breaks had an impact on their intention to buy one. Some 43 percent said it had no impact on their decision – and a further 15 percent said it made them less likely to consider buying.
Moreover, only households earning more than $150,000 seem to seriously consider this investment.