Electric vehicle battery maker Gotion invests $2.36 billion in Big Rapids hub

BIG RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A new set of incentives approved Wednesday is moving West Michigan closer to becoming an electric vehicle battery manufacturing powerhouse for the country.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Fund Board approved $175 million in performance grants and an estimated $540 million in 30-year tax incentives godion to the Big Rapids area. In return, the global battery company is expected to invest $2.36 billion and create up to 2,350 jobs in the state.

Those close to the project say it was an investment years in the making.

“The project represents the largest economic development project so far north in the great history of Michigan,” said MEDC President and CEO Quentin Messer Jr. before the vote.

Brent Case, vice president of business attractions for the West Michigan Economic Development Agency The right placesaid the project represents “a unique opportunity for the greater Big Rapids area.”

“These 2,350 high-paying jobs will help increase the region’s tax base over the next six to 10 years and will transform West Michigan’s image as a hub for advanced battery manufacturing technology,” he said.

Gotion’s new manufacturing facility will be located in an industrial park in Big Rapids Township off US-131 that has been vacant for more than 20 years, according to Case. The Company plans to develop 324 acres, build four plants and infrastructure necessary to manufacture lithium iron phosphate cathodes and anodes for electric vehicle batteries.

The site near Big Rapids where a battery factory may be built. (09/21/2022)
(A photo dated September 21, 2022 shows the site near Big Rapids where Gotion expects to develop its battery component facilities.)

Volkswagen owns 26.2% of Gotion, but it’s unclear who the battery company’s customers will be.

Gotion’s new facility is expected to bring $11.5 billion in new personal income to the region through direct, indirect and new jobs created through local spending over 20 years.

“This project will reverse the population decline in this region. It will provide many local jobs for young people so they don’t have to move out of the area like I did and like Jeremy did when we were younger. It will bring many new suppliers, housing, hotels, restaurants and more customers to existing businesses in the Big Rapids in addition to the project,” Case said.

Gotion plans to partner with a nearby company Ferris State University to help prepare the talent needed to fill the Company’s positions.

“You have Ferris State graduates — women and men who graduated from Ferris and before this opportunity felt like they needed to go somewhere else. Now they have the option to stay in Big Rapids because when they decided to enlist in Big Rapids they love this part of the state. They love scenic beauty, they love being close to nature. And then some of the Bulldog Nation look at that and say, “I had a chance to come home…” And so we’re going to aggressively side with the company, side-by-side with Ferris, side-by-side with our local ones Partners are sending the message that there is opportunity in this beautiful part of the state,” said Messer.

According to MEDC, Gotion will pay an average hourly wage of $29.42, well above the $17.99 per hour required to afford basic necessities in Mecosta County.

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(A conceptual diagram provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation shows what Gotion’s cathode manufacturing facilities could look like when completed in Big Rapids Township.)

Messer said that while Gotion is incorporated and headquartered in China, the company definitely plans to invest in the United States and is legally permitted to do so at both the state and federal levels.

“Michiganders deserve opportunities in the sector that they built,” Messer said. “You wanted to invest in the US, why not in Michigan?”

According to MEDC, battery packs for electric vehicles, unlike other components, must be manufactured near vehicle assembly plants because long-distance shipping is not an option. The panel said projects like this will also make Michigan more attractive to future parts suppliers and vehicle assembly plants, and offer new opportunities for industrial workers as automakers move away from gas-powered engines.

In addition to the incentives approved by the state Wednesday, the municipalities of Green and Big Rapids expect to approve a property tax break for Gotion.

Gotion is expected to begin work on the facility early next year and complete the entire four-facility campus by 2029.

https://www.woodtv.com/news/michigan/once-in-a-generation-opportunity-ev-battery-maker-investing-2-36b-in-big-rapids-hub/ Electric vehicle battery maker Gotion invests $2.36 billion in Big Rapids hub

Dais Johnston

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