New Plants Put Focus on EV Technology Training
Will Americans really give up their gas-guzzling behemoths in favor of electric vehicles (EVs)? Even just a few years ago, many people would’ve probably answered “Never!” to such a question. Today, though, a drive around any populated area will likely reveal the presence of at least one – if not several – electric vehicles.
While the increasing number of EVs on the roads is a sure sign of their increasing popularity, perhaps more telling is the number of investments being made in new manufacturing facilities that will build EVs and the batteries that power them. Thanks to the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which provides incentives for EV investment, the number of EV-related facilities across the U.S. is set to multiply greatly in the coming years.
For example, according to a recent Associated Press article, “[a]n Indian company [Epsilon Advanced Materials Inc. (EAM)] that produces a key ingredient for” EVs recently announced its first U.S. plant will be built in North Carolina. “[T]he planned $650 million facility…would make synthetic graphite anode material necessary for batteries that power EVs.”
Vikram Handa, founder and Managing Director of EAM, says that the company will “provide synthetic and natural graphite anodes to the growing EV battery industry faster, more reliably and at a competitive cost.” At its peak, the company estimates the North Carolina “facility will generate 50,000 tons (45,359 metric tonnes) of the product annually.”
What economic impact will this new facility have? EAM estimates the plant will create “500 new jobs, with an average annual salary of $52,264, which is above the current average salary in the county of $46,464.” That’s good news, especially since “[s]tate and local governments have offered more than $33 million in economic incentives for EAM to build in forms such as land, infrastructure improvements, training and cash payments.”
The EAM plant in North Carolina is just one of the many new EV facilities that have been announced since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. An Industry Week article has been keeping track of new EV facility plans and, to date, the Industry Week staff “has compiled a presentation of some of the largest and most notable advancements in the EV battery manufacturing space.”
Here are a few examples of the many planned facilities coming to states all across the country:
- Toyota battery plant – North Carolina: “Following a $2.1 billion expansion earlier this year, Toyota has announced an additional $8 billion investment at Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina, bringing the total investment to $13.9 billion; the investment also brings the total job creation to over 5,000.”
- Stellantis/Samsung battery plants – Indiana: “Stellantis N.V. and Samsung SDI announced October 11 that the two companies’ joint venture, StarPlus Energy, will build a second factory on its Kokomo, Indiana campus, where its first location is still being built. The companies say they’ll spend over $6.3 billion on the new plant, which will employ about 2,800 people once it starts production in 2027.”
- LG Energy Solution battery plant – Michigan: “LG Energy Solution and Toyota Motor North America signed an agreement for LGES to supply Toyota’s US-made battery-electric vehicles. As part of the agreement, LG Energy Solution said it would spend $3 billion in its Holland, Michigan plant to build new production lines for batteries destined to be used, initially, in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant.”
- General Motors/Samsung battery plant – Indiana: “With construction slated to begin within the next year, this joint venture battery cell plant is projected to create 1,700 manufacturing jobs and have more than 30 GWh of capacity. Production is scheduled to begin in 2026, and the facility will build nickel-rich prismatic and cylindrical cells.”
- LG Energy Solution/Hyundai Motor Group EV/battery plants – Georgia: “LGES and Hyundai…signed a memorandum of understanding to produce EV batteries in a new $4.3 billion plant for which each company will hold a 50% stake. The new EV battery plant…is to be located adjacent to Hyundai’s Metaplant America, currently under construction…The plant will feature a 30 GWh production capacity, to support the production of 300,000 EVs annually. Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs at the plant for use in Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EV models.”
- LG Energy Solution battery plant – Arizona: “Breaking ground this year, LGES will build a new manufacturing complex consisting of one facility for EV cylindrical batteries…$3.2 billion will be invested in the cylindrical battery facility; it will feature a capacity of 27 GWh and plans for mass production of 2170 cells to begin in 2025.”
- Cirba Solutions EV battery recycling facility – South Carolina: “With plans to create over 300 jobs, this lithium-ion EV battery recycling facility campus will be over 200 acres. The site will focus on extracting critical materials by processing end-of-life hybrid and EV batteries, gigafactory scrap and end-of-life consumer batteries. $300 million is the phase I investment.”
- Albemarle Corp. lithium hydroxide facility – South Carolina: “With construction expected to begin late next year, the Albemarle lithium hydroxide Mega-Flex facility plans for an initial investment of at least $1.3 billion. Estimated to create more than 300 new jobs, production would support the manufacturing of around 2.4 million EVs annually. The facility expects to produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and there is potential to expand up to 100,000 metric tons.”
- Amprius Technologies battery plant – Colorado: “Amprius has signed a letter of intent for a 775,000 square-foot gigawatt-scale facility expected to produce lithium-ion batteries in Colorado…The initial phase is expected to create over 330 jobs and will be 500 MWh with the potential of up to 5 GWh in this initial footprint. The location has an existing 1.3 million square-foot factory, and the site has an expected total potential manufacturing potential of 10 GWh. Amprius is targeting military electric vehicle applications for its batteries.”
- Foresee Power battery plant – Ohio: “The French battery manufacturing company announced its North American headquarters and a Gigafactorywill be based in Hilliard, Ohio. The facilities will be located on a scalable 138,000 square-foot site; the goal is to achieve capacity of 3 GWh in the U.S. by 2027, and first-phase investments are estimated to be $13.9 million USD.”
- Envision AESC/BMW Group battery plant – South Carolina: “Announced in October 2022, BMW Group will partner with Envision AESC to build a new battery cell factoryin Woodruff, South Carolina. With a planned annual capacity of 30 GWh, 300 new jobs will be created at the new facility. $700 million will be invested to build the over 1 million square-foot assembly center.”
- Our Next Energy (ONE) battery plant – Michgan: “Expected to create 2,112 new jobs, the ONE Circle battery cell manufacturing plant comes as a result of a $1.6 billion investment. The campus, located in Van Buren Township, Michigan, is a recently constructed 659,589 square-foot facility. ONE’s first cell factory plans for an annual capacity of 20 GWh by the end of 2027.”
If you’re surprised by the number of new EV-related facilities popping up around the U.S., keep your eyes on the news. The facilities mentioned above are just a dozen examples and represent less than half of the announcements Industry Week staff summarized in their article.
If you’re a career and technical education (CTE) instructor or you work in an automotive-related industry, you may be wondering something: where are these facilities going to find the highly skilled workers they need to function efficiently and productively?
Job creation is great. Investment in local communities is fantastic. However, all this growth is not without obstacles. The number of workers with specialized skills will require both upskilling of current workers and training current students with the advanced skills they’ll need to be successful in the jobs on the horizon.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert at training to implement a new program. The experts at Amatrol have been working hand-in-hand with industry and educational institutions for years to design training programs featuring eLearning curriculum and hands-on experience with trainers equipped with industrial components workers will encounter on the job.
When it comes to EV training, Amatrol is once again leading the way. On September 11, 2023, Amatrol hosted the State of Ohio Electric Vehicle Workforce Strategy meeting at its headquarters in Jeffersonville, Indiana, to help chart a course for preparing the Ohio workforce for the jobs that EV battery and vehicle manufacturing facilities will soon bring. Click below to watch a video about that meeting.
In the video, Amatrol’s Kent Powell, Vice President of Global Sales, and Jason Hoffman, Vice President of Buckeye Educational Systems, provide an overview of the unique skill sets that EV facilities will require and how Amatrol stands ready to equip the workers of today and tomorrow with the hands-on skills they’ll need to succeed in EV battery and vehicle manufacturing facilities.
What Amatrol has learned is that, in many ways, the development of EV battery and vehicle manufacturing facilities shares similarities with semiconductor manufacturing facilities. They both represent precision manufacturing that requires advanced automation skills.
Hoffman agrees: “It’s a different set of skills. It’s a different type of manufacturing. We need a different skill set now that we’re into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Fortunately, Amatrol already has the comprehensive curriculum and hands-on training systems in place to teach those advanced skills.
“Amatrol is always working with industry, finding out what those needs are, making sure they have partners,” noted Hoffman. “Amatrol has been doing this for over 30 years and they have the solutions for it.” Powell echoes these thoughts when discussing Amatrol’s approach to EV: “As the world’s leader in career and technical training, Amatrol remains committed to developing unparalleled training solutions for the constantly evolving manufacturing sector.”
Visit Amatrol online to learn more about its EV Manufacturing Program. You can also download Amatrol’s EV Manufacturing Program brochure. For more information about how Amatrol can help you upskill your current workers, contact an expert at Amatrol today!