Holland, Michigan is becoming a center for manufacturing batteries for electric cars thanks to federal, state, and local government incentives and a skilled workforce. As reported in the Holland Sentinel, according to a U.S Department of Energy Report 62,000 new jobs will be created in the advanced battery industry in Michigan over the next 10 years. And the U.S.’s share of the advanced battery market will increase from 2 percent to 40 percent by 2015.
In August, 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects would receive $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Michigan is receiving the largest share of the funding, with over $1 billion granted to companies and institutions in the state. Most electric vehicle batteries have been manufactured in Asia, but the funding is encouraging auto suppliers and manufacturers to expand the battery industry in the U.S.
Johnson Controls received a $299 million federal grant, $168.5 million in incentives from the State of Michigan, and support from the Michigan Economic Development Council to build a lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Holland, Michigan. The company expects to create 500 permanent positions when the project is complete. In a press release in September, 2010, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm pointed out the collaboration between Johnson Controls, Azure Dynamics, AM General, and the Ford Motor Company as being the key to bringing the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial vans to market.
Compact Power, a U.S. subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a Korean company, built a $303 million plant in Holland to produce lithium-ion batteries for the Chevy Volt and for Hyundai hybrid vehicles. As reported in PureGreenCars, Compact Power received a $151.4 million federal grant and the company made a matching investment. Governor Granholm pointed out that LG Chem also received an incentive package from the State of Michigan, including a $100 million advanced battery cell tax credit, a $25.2 million 15-year tax credit for job creation, and designation as a Renaissance Zone. Reporting on the groundbreaking ceremony of the Compact plant in July, 2010, The Macomb Daily indicated that approximately 300 workers will be permanently employed once the factory is operational.
In an article for the Holland Sentinel, Ben Beversluis explains that now that electric vehicle batteries are being manufactured in the U.S., the next step is to promote the use of hybrid and electric vehicles. Beversluis quotes Mark Wagner, vice president of government relations at Johnson Controls as indicating that prices of batteries and electric vehicles will come down with higher volume. And a higher volume can be encouraged through EPA fuel economy regulations, energy and climate legislation, and incentives for research and development.
Ben Beversluis, “JC-Saft battery plant construction on schedule” – Holland Sentinel
DOE Announces $2.4 Billion for U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles – U.S. Department of Energy
LG Chem to Build Battery Plant in Holland, Michigan – PureGreenCars
Michigan Gov. Granholm Hails Collaboration by Ford, Azure Dynamics, Johnson Controls-Saft and AM General to Deliver New Ford Transit Connect Electric – Johnson Controls
Obama promotes electric cars today in Holland – The Macomb Daily
Peter Daining, “Granholm: From rust belt to green belt” – Holland Sentinel