Japanese Electric Vehicle Battery Company to Build Plant in Kentucky
Kentucky governor says a Japanese battery technology company will build a $2 billion factory in Kentucky, creating 2,000 jobs
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company will build a factory in Kentucky, creating 2,000 jobs in a $2 billion investment that bolsters the state’s leadership in battery production, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday.
The Envision AESC plant in Bowling Green in south-central Kentucky will produce battery cells and modules to power the next generation of electric vehicles, the Democratic governor said.
Products from the gigafactory will be manufactured for multiple automakers globally.
The announcement represents Kentucky’s second-largest economic development investment, the governor said, following an announcement of an even larger battery production plant last year.
“With today’s announcement, we confirm that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the undisputed electric battery production capital of the United States of America,” Beshear said as he joined other state leaders to celebrate the new project.
Envision AESC’s announcement comes months after Bowling Green was among several Kentucky cities hit hard by tornadoes last December. Parts of Bowling Green were devastated by the storm.
Envision AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said the investment in Kentucky is part of the next phase of the company’s battery strategy to power electric vehicles in the US.
“This significant investment builds on our commitment to the US market, supports the growth of the electrification supply chain, and secures high-value jobs for future generations in the region,” he said.
“This commitment takes us one step closer to our ambition to manufacture longer-range, high-performance batteries for a wide range of car manufacturers around the world to support the EV transition,” he added.
Plans for the Kentucky plant follow the company’s announcements last year to build gigafactories in France and the UK. Envision AESC has 4,000 employees and 10 production facilities in Japan, the US, the UK, China and France.
Automakers are trying to one-up each other with electric vehicle announcements and proclamations that they plan to sell nothing but zero-emission vehicles in the next decade or so. There are currently 38 all-electric models on sale in the US, with more than 120 expected by 2025.
Automakers sold almost 4.6 million electric vehicles worldwide last year. LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm, expects that to rise to almost 7 million this year and to more than 15 million by 2025. Still, that will be only about 15% of global vehicle sales.
In the US, LMC says just over 400,000 EVs were sold last year. The company expects that to rise to more than 2.2 million by 2025. Still, that’s only about 13% of new vehicle sales.
In Kentucky, the Envision AESC project follows last year’s announcement that Ford and its battery partner will build twin battery plants outside of Glendale in central Kentucky. That megaproject will create 5,000 jobs to produce batteries for the automaker’s next generation of electric vehicles.
“So once again, a company that is redefining the automotive industry is staking its future on Kentucky and our workforce,” Beshear said Wednesday of the Envision AESC project.
The Democratic governor thanked the Republican-dominated state legislature for its role in attracting the new company. Republican Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives David Osborne said the announcement of the new plant shows that “great things can happen when we all move in the same direction.” Shortly after the plant celebration, Republican lawmakers began overriding the governor’s many vetoes.
The new state partnership provides the company with up to $116.8 million from state incentive programs and up to $5 million in grants for skills training, the governor’s office said.
Envision AESC chose a fast-growing college town with its plans to build the approximately 3 million square foot factory in the Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green.
“The scale of this project is unlike anything our community has seen before,” said Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott.
Bowling Green is also home to General Motors’ Corvette Assembly Plant.
Associated Press auto writer Tom Krisher in Detroit and Associated Press writer Piper Hudspeth Blackburn in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.