Writer: Joey Garrand
2 min read April 2021 — Tennessee and the Nashville region are carving out a new role in the automotive industry that is leading to new jobs and high expectations: electric vehicle manufacturing.
Recently, Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors, announced it will invest more than $2.3 billion to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States. The 2.8-million-square-foot project is set to be located in Spring Hill, Maury County, and will create 1,300 new manufacturing jobs.
“This is the largest single investment of economic activity in the state’s history,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee at a news conference.
Wil Evans, president of the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance, said that Ultium’s decision puts the county and the state in a strong position to take advantage of the growing industry. “It puts us at the center of this industry as it grows over the next few years. It is really going to be a game-changer for the state as a whole as the electric vehicle industry is starting to come alive.”
The announcement is another sign the nascent industry is taking hold. “We’ve seen that in our other OEMs here in the state — Volkswagen, Nissan — have made investments in electric vehicles going forward. We think this is a very wise investment,” said Lee.
Microvast, a leading global provider of next-generation battery technologies for commercial and specialty electric vehicles, has also announced a $220 million investment in Clarksville, Montgomery County, to establish a new manufacturing facility.
The state of Tennessee is responsible for 40 percent of the Southeast’s electric vehicle manufacturing jobs and investment, with more than $4.2 billion invested by companies in the states’s electric vehicle industry. Consequently, Tennessee ranks first in the Southeast for electric vehicle manufacturing.
Global sales of electric vehicles are expected to have reached nearly 2.5 million in 2020, according to IHS Markit. For 2021, sales are forecast to rise about 70%. China and Europe account for most of this activity, with the two regions accounting for 72% of electric vehicle market share. North America lags behind with 16% of electric vehicle market share.
The stark difference in market share between North America and Europe/China is due to regulations. Europe and China have been phasing in new energy vehicle requirements, and policies from the Biden administration are expected to help boost North America’s market share.
Of course, an emerging industry implies a different set of workforce needs. “There’s going to have to be a new skill set of people to work on these vehicles, to produce them, to produce batteries to do that, and so it’s a great opportunity for a whole generation of young people, that I think are struggling to find what they want to do,” said Rod Holliman, member of the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Spring Hill and the Nashville region as a whole are among the fastest-growing areas in the country and the expansion of the electric vehicle industry will help to supply the growing local population with economic opportunities
For more information visit:Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development: https://www.tn.gov/ecd
Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance: https://mauryalliance.com/
Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce: https://springhillchamber.com/
Tennessee Chamber of of Commerce and Industry: https://www.tnchamber.org/