Kentucky reached another milestone in its electric car battery sector development Tuesday, with a $2 billion plant built by a Japanese company that will create 2,000 full-time jobs.
The Envision AESC plant in Bowling Green in south-central Kentucky will produce cells and battery units that will power electric vehicles made by several automakers.
“EV batteries will be in vehicles all over the world, and we are very proud to make them here in Kentucky,” Democratic Governor Andy Beshear said at the groundbreaking event with state and local officials.
Jeff Deaton, managing director of Envision AESC US, said state and local support reflects “a shared ambition to be national leaders in the transformation of e-mobility in the US.”
Operation Bowling Green is expected to power up to 300,000 vehicles per year by 2027.
Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican, said Tuesday that the project strengthens Bluegrass State’s position in the emerging electric vehicle market.
Envision AESC announced that it had selected the fast-growing university city last April. The sprawling plant will be built in Kentucky Trans Park in Bowling Green.
Warren County Executive Judge Mike Buchanon called the achievement a “huge event.” If fully employed, the project will generate more than $233 million in new spending in the community annually, he said.
The project represents one of the largest economic development investments ever in Kentucky, and it followed a larger announcement of battery production last year.
Ford and its battery partner, SK Innovation of South Korea, will build twin battery plants outside of Glendale in central Kentucky. This massive $5.8 billion project in Hardin County will create 5,000 jobs to produce batteries for the next generation of electric vehicles.
Bashir said Tuesday that the emerging electric car battery sector will “resonate” in many Kentucky communities, as battery producers attract suppliers who open plants in the state. Deaton said the Envision AESC plant would provide “a catalyst for further investment in the local supply chain.”
The governor said developing the sector is already paying off elsewhere.
Last week, Advanced Nano Products, a supplier of carbon battery nanomaterials used to produce EV batteries, said it would set up a plant in Hardin County to supply EV battery factories across the region. The project will create 93 jobs.
Ascend Elements Inc. said: , a company that produces advanced battery materials made from recycled lithium-ion batteries, said it would invest $310 million and create 250 full-time jobs in Christian County in western Kentucky. The Ascend operation in Kentucky will serve a range of customers associated with electric vehicles.
Beshear is expected to make his management of the state’s economy a cornerstone of his re-election message in 2023. Kentucky last year set records for job creation and investments and posted record low unemployment rates for four straight months.
Osborne said Kentucky’s ability to set up projects such as the Envision AESC plant shows that despite political disagreements, the governor and legislature are “collaborating in the same direction when it comes to providing economic opportunity to the Commonwealth.” Republicans have an overwhelming majority in both legislatures.
Osborne and Senate Republican supporter Tim David Givens also cited GOP-backed measures they said helped boost the state’s economic growth: changes to state tax code, relaxed regulations and a so-called “right to work” measure that prohibits workers from being required to join unions or union dues. as a condition of employment.
Based on the company’s investment and employment projections, Envision AESC qualifies for a state-assignable performance loan of up to $116.8 million, the governor’s office said in a press release. The company is also eligible for training funds.