Gotion High-Tech rumoured to build battery plant in Michigan

Chinese battery cell manufacturer and Volkswagen partner Gotion High-Tech is apparently planning a factory in Michigan. This emerges from a now leaked application for subsidies submitted to the US state.

Gotion now plans to invest $2.36 billion (2.41 billion euros) in the new facility and create 2,350 jobs. The factory is scheduled to go into operation in 2024 with 586 employees, and the entire project, with four construction phases, is to be completed by 2031. There are no details yet on the planned production capacity or the type of cells.

Based on the application to the West Michigan Economic Development Authority, the specific location Gotion has in mind is also already known: The company (or its California-registered subsidiary, Gotion Inc) has applied for a 30-year property tax-exempt zone permit. The 523-acre, or 211-hectare, site straddles Big Rapids Township and Green Township in Mecosta County.

The portal InsideEVs concludes that if approved, Gotion will save about $13 million per year in property taxes. Over the 30 years, the subsidy would add up to about $390 million.

Michigan is considered the heart of the U.S. auto industry and numerous electric vehicle models are built there, but when it comes to battery factories, other U.S. states have mostly gotten the nod. However, Ultium Cells, the battery joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, announced this January that it would build its third battery factory overall in Lansing, Michigan. The first two plants are in neighbouring Ohio and Tennessee. Other manufacturers have also previously favoured more southern U.S. states (Ford and SK On are also building in Tennessee) or Canada (LGES and Stellantis).

Gotion High-Tech (25.6 per cent owned by Volkswagen) specializes in LFP cells. The company is on an enormous growth trajectory and has commissioned or announced the construction of numerous battery factories – but so far primarily in China. In Germany, production is scheduled to start in Göttingen in 2023. By 2025, Gotion aims to reach a global production capacity of 300 GWh.

In December 2021, Gotion announced that it had signed a supply agreement with a major publicly traded U.S. automaker. The agreement covers the supply of 200 GWh of LFP cells from 2023 to 2028, which will be cells manufactured in China. However, it was also said at the time that the partners plan to localize the production and supply of LFP batteries in the United States. Based on the information at the time, Tesla was considered a possible partner because Tesla already relies on LFP cells (primarily from CATL) on a large scale. A battery plant in Michigan would make little sense for Tesla with plants in California and Texas, which is why the publicly listed US automaker could be another company.


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