Japanese electric vehicle battery company to build plant in Kentucky


FILE – Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear speaks at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., September 28, 2021. A Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company will build a plant in Kentucky, creating 2,000 jobs in an investment $2 billion that bolsters state leadership in battery production, Beshear said Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)


A Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company will build a plant in Kentucky, creating 2,000 jobs in a $2 billion investment that bolsters the state’s leadership in battery production, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday. .

The Envision AESC plant in Bowling Green, south-central Kentucky, will produce battery cells and modules to power the next generation of electric vehicles, the Democratic governor said.

Gigafactory products will be manufactured for several automakers around the world.

The announcement represents Kentucky’s second economic development investment, the governor said, following the announcement of an even larger battery production plant last year.

“With today’s announcement, we confirm that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the undisputed electric battery production capital of the United States of America,” Beshear said as he met with other state leaders to celebrate the new project.

Envision AESC’s announcement comes months after Bowling Green was among several Kentucky towns hard hit by tornadoes last December. Parts of Bowling Green were devastated by the storm.

Envision AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said the investment in Kentucky is part of the next phase of the company’s battery strategy to power electric vehicles in the United States.

“This major investment builds on our commitment to the U.S. market, supports the growth of the electrification supply chain, and secures high-value jobs for future generations in the region,” he said. declared.

“This commitment takes us a step further towards our ambition to manufacture longer-range, high-performance batteries for a wide range of automakers around the world to support the transition to electric vehicles,” he added.

Plans for the Kentucky factory follow last year’s announcements by the company to build gigafactories in France and the UK. Envision AESC has 4,000 employees and 10 production plants in Japan, USA, UK, China and France.

Automakers are trying to outdo each other with electric vehicle announcements and proclamations that they plan to sell only zero-emission vehicles over the next decade. Currently, 38 all-electric models are currently on sale in the United States, with more than 120 expected by 2025.

Automakers sold nearly 4.6 million electric vehicles worldwide last year. LMC Automotive, an industry consultancy, expects that figure to rise to nearly 7 million this year and more than 15 million by 2025. Yet that will only represent around 15% of global vehicle sales.

In the US, LMC says just over 400,000 electric vehicles were sold last year. The company expects that figure to grow to more than 2.2 million by 2025. Still, that’s only about 13% of new vehicle sales.

In Kentucky, the Envision AESC project follows last year’s announcement that Ford and its battery partner would build twin battery plants outside of Glendale in central Kentucky. This megaproject will create 5,000 jobs to produce batteries for the automaker’s next generation of electric vehicles.

“So, once again, a company redefining the automotive industry is betting its future on Kentucky and our workforce,” Beshear said Wednesday of the Envision AESC project.

The Democratic governor thanked the state’s Republican-dominated legislature for its role in luring in the new society. Republican Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne said the announcement of the new plant shows “great things can happen when we all pull in the same direction.” Shortly after the plant’s celebration, Republican lawmakers began to override the governor’s numerous vetoes.

The new state partnership provides the company with up to $116.8 million from state incentive programs and up to $5 million in job training grants, the office said. of the governor.

Envision AESC chose a fast-growing college town with its plans to build the approximately 3 million square foot plant at Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green.

“The scale of this project is unlike anything our community has ever seen before,” said Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott.

Bowling Green is also home to General Motors’ Corvette Assembly Plant.


Associated Press automotive writer Tom Krisher in Detroit and Associated Press writer Piper Hudspeth Blackburn in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.