Global tech company investing $2.36B into EV battery plant in Big Rapids

Gotion chooses Michigan city for new battery component manufacturing facility

FILE - A new electric BMW iX car of German car manufacturer BMW is charging in Munich, Germany, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File) (Matthias Schrader, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – A global high-tech company has chosen a Michigan city as the site for its new electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility, and is investing billions of dollars into the project.

Gotion -- a China-based company that was incorporated in California -- is investing $2.36 billion to build a battery component manufacturing facility in Big Rapids, which is just west of Mount Pleasant. The plan is to build two 550,000 square foot plants, in addition to other “supporting facilities,” on a site spanning approximately 260 acres.

Michigan officials announced the investment Wednesday, saying the project will create up to 2,350 jobs.

The Michigan Strategic Fund, which is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, approved a package of “incentive support” on Wednesday, Oct. 5, in an effort to attract Gotion’s investment. The state was reportedly competing against Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas to host the manufacturing facility.

The MSF approved the following incentives for Gotion, as written in a press release:

  • A $125 million Critical Industry Program performance-based grant through the SOAR Fund;
  • A MSF Designated Renaissance Zone estimated to be worth $540 million; and
  • A $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program performance-based grant through the SOAR Fund that will be administered by The Right Place to assist with infrastructure improvements.

A Renaissance Zone is essentially a tax-free zone for businesses or residents within its boundaries. Officials said Wednesday that Green Township, Big Rapids Township and Mecosta County have also “authorized a 30-year Renaissance Zone in support of the project.”

The new manufacturing facility is meant to help establish U.S. battery production and meet increasing EV battery production demands for the nation and the world. The Big Rapids facility is expected to produce 150,000 tons of cathode material each year once it’s up-and-running, officials said. Two additional plants will reportedly be built on the site dedicated only to producing anodes, and is expected to produce 50,000 tons of anode material each year.

“We are thankful to the Big Rapids community, state of Michigan and all who have supported us in getting the project to this important milestone,” said Chuck Thelen, vice president of Gotion Global. “We are dedicated to bringing world class lithium battery production to North America and delivering high-quality products to our customers in a timely fashion. We look forward to our continued partnership to ensure a smooth launch.”

Gotion has reportedly committed to using 100% renewable energy to power the facility. It is unclear when if that will occur right away or later on, but Consumers Energy officials say they are working with the company to achieve that goal.

Learn more about Gotion on their website here.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.