Updated: Nov. 4, 2022 at 12:52 p.m. EDT.
Part of the Inflation Reduction Act's $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit is tied to manufacturing battery components in North America and sourcing critical minerals from there. That initially riled up some automakers, who claimed it would be an undue burden.
Fast forward a few months, and companies are moving almost in lockstep to bring large-scale operations to the U.S. in anticipation of car buyers looking to take advantage of these EV incentives.
So far in 2022, automakers have announced more than $13 billion in domestic EV manufacturing investments and $24 billion in batteries. That’s triple the amount invested in domestic EV manufacturing in 2020 and 28 times the investment in batteries, according to a White House analysis.
The U.S. has played a negligible role in the making of EVs and the mining, processing, and production of their components, Sara Baldwin, the director of Energy Innovation’s electrification program, said. Meanwhile, countries like China have long been ramping up for the EV expansion, dominating manufacturing and securing not only the intellectual property to serve the market, but also the mining operations critical to their growth.
“We weren’t prepared for this or planning for this,” Baldwin said of the U.S.
The IRA is helping the country play catch-up.
It’s undeniable we’re already starting to see the first wave of EV and battery manufacturing onshoring. “This is just the beginning of a long-term shift that’s going to take place,” said Rachel Patterson, a policy lead at climate advocacy group Evergreen Action. Some state-level policies like California banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035 could help spread EV adoption even further while still other states offer incentives for manufacturers to set up shop. That could convince more automakers to build plants and source minerals from the U.S.
Here’s a running list of all the companies investing in the American EV market since the passage of the IRA.
Tesla: The EV maker is reportedly partnering with Panasonic on a $4 billion EV battery plant, set to be built in Oklahoma. The two companies already jointly operate a battery factory in Nevada and had previously announced in July a plan to build a separate $4 billion EV battery factory in Kansas. Both Kansas and Oklahoma have incentive packages in place that would attract the corporate investment. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the potential Oklahoma factory news, also reported that Tesla is pausing its German expansion plans to potentially shift its battery cell-making operations to the U.S. in order to qualify for IRA tax breaks. Sources also told Electrek that the company is finally planning on expanding its Nevada gigafactory to be used for battery cell manufacturing.
Kia and Hyundai: Kia is planning on moving some of its EV assembly to the U.S. by 2024, according to South Korean news sources. (Its flagship EV is currently built in South Korea.) The South Korean automaker and its parent company Hyundai currently have the second-highest market share for EVs in the U.S., and it looks like they want to keep it that way. Hyundai had already made plans earlier in the year to invest $5.5 billion to build EV and battery manufacturing plants in Georgia, near existing Hyundai and Kia plants. At the time, the company didn’t expect to start production until 2025, but it looks like it’s now moving those plans forward by a year in light of the IRA.
Honda: The Japanese automaker and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution announced that they’re investing $4.4 billion in EV battery-building as part of a new Ohio-based joint venture. The companies are putting $3.5 billion towards building a new battery plant in the state, where Honda already has three existing plants, with production set to start in late 2025. These batteries will be used exclusively to power EVs from Honda auto plants that will be sold in North America.
Toyota: The Japanese automaker announced an additional $2.5 billion investment into its battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina, more than doubling its prior commitment of $1.29 billion, announced in December. Production is scheduled to begin in 2025, and batteries produced would be used in both hybrids and EVs. The plant is expected to employ 2,100 people, and the announcement came two days after Honda’s announcement.
General Motors: The largest auto company in the U.S. is investing $760 million in its existing Toledo plant to make drive units for its EVs. The plant will be the company’s first powertrain or propulsion-related factory to be converted into an EV-component maker. GM also said it’s investing $491 million in an Indiana plant to make parts for future vehicles, including EVs.
Ford: The American automaker announced plans to invest $11.4 billion in two EV hubs, one in Tennessee and another in Kentucky. The $5.6 billion complex in Tennessee will vertically integrate battery manufacturing with the assembly of the company’s electric F-Series trucks. Through a joint venture with South Korean battery business SK Innovation, $5.8 billion will go towards building two Kentucky battery plants, which will supply batteries to Ford and Lincoln’s North American EVs. The company plans on investing more than $30 billion in EVs through 2025.
Gotion High Tech: Chinese battery maker Gotion is opening a new $2.36 billion plant in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called it the “biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan.” Like other states that successfully courted battery makers, Michigan granted the company plenty of tax incentives to build the plant ($715 million to be specific). The facility is set to produce 150,000 tons of cathode material and 50,000 tons of anode material a year once operational.
Our Next Energy: The Michigan-based startup announced a $1.6 billion investment in a new battery cell plant that will be operating at full capacity by the end of 2027. This will be the company's first cell factory, according to founder and CEO Mujeeb Ijaz. The company is also starting a workforce development program meant to retrain Michiganders for green jobs.
Factorial Energy: The Massachusetts-based battery maker announced in August it's investing $45 million in a new manufacturing facility in Methuen, Mass. The plant will produce solid-state battery cell technology for EVs and will begin operating in 2023. Factorial currently works with automakers including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis on EV battery cell development.
BMW: The German automaker announced in October it's investing $1.7 billion in American EV-making. Of that, $1 billion will go towards producing EVs at its existing South Carolina plant. The remaining $700 million will go towards building a battery cell factory in South Carolina, in partnership with battery maker Envision AESC, to supply its EVs. The company has a goal of manufacturing at least six EV models in the U.S. by 2030.
InoBat Auto: The Slovakian EV battery supplier announced in November it will be building a 100,000-square-foot battery module and pack assembly and R&D facility in Indiana in a joint venture with EV company Ideanomics. Construction is beginning 2023 with assembly beginning in 2024.