Dow Kokam is building a $320 million plant in Midland, Michigan to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Dow Kokam is a joint venture formed by Dow Chemical Company, TK Advanced Battery Ltd. based in Lees Summit, Missouri, and Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, a French company. In August, 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $161 million to Dow Kokam through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help build the plant and the joint venture partners are matching the investment.
In reporting on the groundbreaking for the plant in June, 2010, Holly Setter, in an article on mlive, quoted Kristina Schnepf, spokeswoman for Dow Kokam, as indicating that the project will create about 1,000 temporary construction jobs. Dow Kokam has selected Clayco Inc. as the design-build contractor to oversee the construction of the battery manufacturing facility. According to Dow Kokam, the highly automated and environment controlled manufacturing processes, as well as the need to build up this industry quickly in the U.S. required a contractor with Clayco’s track record and experience.
When the first phase of construction is complete in 2012, 320 full-time high-skill manufacturing positions are expected to be created. Schnepf indicated that Dow Kokam hopes to carry out a second phase of construction in the future that would bring the total number of jobs at the plant to about 800. The second phase would involve an additional investment of $345 million, bringing the total investment to $665 million.
According to Dow Kokam, when complete, the 800,000 square foot facility will have the capacity to manufacture enough lithium-ion batteries to power 60,000 vehicles per year. Dow Kokam is pursuing contracts with the major Detroit automakers to supply the lithium-ion batteries produced in Midland for use in plug-in electric and electric hybrid vehicles. The company also intends to supply batteries for commercial vehicles, heavy vehicles, marine transportation, and defense contracts, serving a global market.
In February, 2010,dbusiness, a Detroit business journal, reported that the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) had approved Dow Kokam’s application for tax credits equivalent to $42 million to incorporate battery pack assembly equipment and production in the second phase of its production plan, which could start in 2011.
In the dbusiness article, Ravi Shanker, CEO of Dow Kokam, is quoted as pointing out the importance of Midland and the support from the State of Michigan in developing the advanced battery industry. Ravi Ramanathan, Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs, indicated that lithium-ion batteries represents a global opportunity for Dow Kokam, Midland and the State of Michigan in the clean energy technology market.
Dow Kokam Breaks Ground on $322M Battery Plant in Midland, Michigan – Area Development
Dow Kokam Receives Michigan Tax Credits for Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Production – dbusiness
Holly Setter, “Biden in Midland for groundbreaking at Dow Kokam advanced battery facility” – mlive
Tony Lascari, “Biden boosting battery power in Midland at Dow Kokam groundbreaking” – Midland Daily News