For manufacturing in the state, it’s a sign of the times.
Need to Know
- LG Energy Solution is adding 1,200 jobs and quintupling the size of its facility in Holland.
- The facility creates electric vehicle batteries, which are in high demand with oil uncertainty.
- Landing the expansion is the latest win for Michigan, which recently received a record GM investment.
HOLLAND, Mich.—Michigan’s economy and auto industry are on a roll. A major battery manufacturer announced Tuesday that it is quintupling the size of its Holland plant and nearly doubling the number of staff on payroll, as it invests more than $1 billion in local production.
The LG Energy Solution decision comes on the heels of a GM investment that will augment electric vehicle production in the state and generate well-paying jobs for thousands. Michigan’s manufacturing hot streak has backed up the state’s claim as the Mecca for electric vehicles, suggesting that the fast-growing industry could rejuvenate the state’s 21st century industrial economy.
Michigan won both investments over other suitors, offering financial support and job training for the projects.
“Michigan was a natural choice to our commitment of building an impactful global business because of its rich pool of talent, being close to the geographic epicenter of the automotive industry and its strong support,” said Bonchul Koo, president of LG Energy Solution Michigan.
Built in 2010, the LGES Holland plant produces electric vehicle battery cells and packs. Currently, 1,500 people work there, and that number will jump by 1,200 following the expansion.
LGES Michigan is already promoting openings on site.
Electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion batteries for energy instead of traditional fuel-dependent combustion engines, making batteries a must-have commodity close to production facilities.
The White House has set a non-binding goal in agreement in coordination with the “Big Three” automakers to have 50% of all US new vehicle sales be electric by 2030. The recent spike in oil costs has led some to suggest that the US should accelerate its transition from gas to electric, which experts see as a more renewable and sustainable source of energy.
US Energy Secretary and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm predicted last year that Michigan could be well-poised to snap up many of the opportunities for EV expansion.
“We should be building that whole supplies and guts in the United States, and Michigan is primed to lead it all,” Granholm said last August during a stop at Oakland University for a panel discussion.
In January, GM planted its biggest investment in company history in Michigan, generating 4,000 new jobs and devoting a plant to the production of electric pickup trucks.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also pushed for Michigan to land more semiconductor chip production facilities, which are energy circuits required for both traditional fuel engine and electric cars. One manufacturer, SK Siltron, has since signed up in Michigan, as have other companies in related fields. Local leaders have urged Congress to swiftly pass the CHIPS Act to incentivize domestically in semiconductors, which are used twice as much in electric vehicles compared to traditional cars.
Last December, the White House laid out an action plan for sourcing and supplying the battery supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, using funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year. The law also will equip the country with a network of 500,000 EV charging stations.
People who purchase new electric vehicles are eligible for thousands of dollars of rebates. Whitmer’s budget if passed would include $2,500 in additional cash back.
“The impact of this win will be felt around the entire state for decades to come,” Whitmer said.