The auto industry is facing some immense challenges, but that hasn’t stopped automakers and their suppliers from investing in developments around electrics.
And, really, every major car company has made broad commitments to amassing a portfolio that’s heavily dependent on battery power.
So where will we get the batteries? Well, there are lots of factors here, and experts warn that without investment in domestic materials chains and production, we will find ourselves woefully short of batteries when EVs hit the mainstream.
That’s why production commitments on behalf of battery suppliers are uniquely important right now, and one company with plans to set up shop in Warren, Michigan, isn’t messing around when it comes to recruiting a skilled workforce.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Graphex Technologies and Emerald Energy Solutions are planning a $60 million plant in the auto industry corridor north of Detroit, and they plan to create jobs paying an average of $40 an hour.
The operation will process natural graphite to be used in lithium-ion batteries to power EVs, and will employ 125 workers when it’s up and running. And while not every worker will make this enviable salary – Graphex says there are entry-level jobs starting much lower – some roles pay up to $60 per hour.
Some of this speaks to the genuine need for a less complex supply chain for these components, and Graphex CEO John DeMaio said the significance of this plant on U.S. soil “cannot be overstated,” not just for the company, but for the entire U.S. EV industry “as it begins to extricate itself from overly complex supply chains."
The Free Press also quoted Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst for Guidehouse Insights' E-Mobility solution, who described the current scenario where batteries are typically produced in Asia with materials sourced from Africa or even South America. As EV production grows in North America, he said, "shipping all of this around the world multiple times makes no sense.”