The evening, punctuated by the local cover band, the Fly Bettys, ended with a fireworks finale accompanied by “God Bless the USA.”
The hope of SK, Ford, many energy policymakers and pragmatic environmentalists, is that most of the Georgians tailgating for holiday fireworks in the coming years will be hanging on the flatbeds of F-150 Lightnings instead.
Even once the logistics and volume of production are straightened out, the lingering question for Jackson County residents, and Americans, is whether the batteries being made down the road at SK will power vehicles ultimately as accessible as Ford’s Model T. Henry Ford called it a vehicle “for the great multitude,” and it fueled America’s original automotive revolution.
As usual, silver bullets are rare. And as with most major challenges, it helps if a solution involves making something cool.
Maddison Dean, a Jackson County native, was hired early this year by SK for a role in community relations. In April, she gave a presentation about the company to more than a hundred juniors and seniors at Commerce High School, her alma mater. In the auditorium, she gave an overview of electric vehicles, the quickly changing future for automakers and how SK’s operations work.
“I told them, feel free to interrupt me at any point, just raise your hand,” she said. At first, she didn’t have many takers. “You know, especially talking to high school kids, they just kind of glaze over, they’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever, this is an excuse for us to be out of class, but we’re not paying attention.’”