There’s nothing standing in the way of the world’s auto makers and an electric-vehicle future except the batteries to power tens of millions of cars. The auto industry is betting that’s a problem money can solve.

Consider Ford Motor (ticker: F), which recently announced the largest single investment plan in its century-plus history. Ford and its partners are planning to spend $11.4 billion to build manufacturing facilities in coming years that will do for Kentucky and Tennessee what Henry Ford did for Dearborn, Mich., in 1917,…


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