Earlier this month, I attended the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Advanced Battery Manufacturing in Michigan breakfast, featuring presenters from General Motors, Compact Power, University of Michigan/Sakti3, DTE Energy and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

While I was sitting in the sold-out, standing room-only conference room at the Marriot Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti, I thought how inspiring it was to hear Michigan-based businesses and Michiganders be truly excited about the state’s prospects to bring advanced battery businesses and jobs close-to-home. Literally each presenter one-upped the preceding speaker on how “despite the economy, I have the best job in…” automotive, higher education, state government affairs, etc.

With the Obama administration’s efforts to provide stimulus money and loans to advanced battery manufacturing in the U.S., it is abundantly clear that advanced battery production is not going away and that Michigan is making all the right moves to attract companies in this growing industry and assist OEMs and suppliers currently doing business in-state. In fact, Martin Dober, vice president, new markets unit, for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, presented various Michigan state tax credits for companies who manufacture advanced batteries in the state, including vehicle manufacturing, cell manufacturing, and pack manufacturing credits. Kudos to the State of Michigan and to the MEDC for stepping up!

I understand to have consumers shift from driving petrol-based cars to electric vehicles is going to take time and needs support from federal government, state government, universities, businesses, and consumers. From attending this event, listening to the presentations, and talking to attendees, I know the support is there for advanced battery manufacturing in the U.S. and in Michigan. Now we just need time to let this grow.

— Allen Arnold

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