Dow Kokam electric vehicles battery plant in Michigan

Ground was broken Monday for an electric car battery plant being built in Michigan by Dow Kokam, a joint venture of The Dow Chemical Co. and TK Advanced Battery LLC. Dow Kokam is building the facility to manufacture lithium-ion battery packs for next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles.

When fully operational, the plant will have the capacity to manufacture 1.2 billion watt hours of large-format lithium ion batteries. It will employ at least 800 people. Vice President Joe Biden attended the ceremony and spent time discussing green technology initiatives with Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris.

Dow Kokam’s Chief Executive Officer Ravi Shanker was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, The Dow Chemical Company Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris and other dignitaries at a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate construction of Dow Kokam’s new advanced, large-format battery production facility. The groundbreaking marks the first phase of construction for the high-tech, world-scale manufacturing facility, which will produce affordable lithium-ion batteries to supply the growing electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) market.

According to Dow Kokam CEO Ravi Shanker, the new facility will enable the company to bring to market the most reliable and consistent energy solutions for its customers.

"We’re making history today for Michigan and for the adoption of alternative energy by the automotive industry," said Shanker. "In just nine short months, Dow Kokam has moved from formation to construction of a manufacturing facility to meet the needs of the next generation of the auto industry."

Dow Kokam envisions an 800,000 square-foot, large-format battery manufacturing facility that will be developed in two overlapping construction phases. When complete, the facility will employ nearly 800 people, and have the capacity to manufacture 1.2 billion watt hours of large-format affordable lithium-ion batteries – enough to power 60,000 fully electric or hybrid electric vehicles annually, (assuming a 20 KWh battery system). The first phase of construction, supported by a $161 Million Department of Energy (DOE) Recovery Act grant, has a targeted capacity of 600 million watt hours and will employ up to 320 people at steady state.

Dow Kokam has committed to spend $322 million for the first phase of construction. Development of the facility will provide more than 1,000 regional construction jobs. When both phases of construction are complete, the project will have lead to 2,720 direct and indirect jobs, and the facility will require up to 800 full-time positions when fully operational.

"With transformational companies like Dow Kokam, we are creating new green jobs and reshaping Michigan into the clean energy manufacturing capital of North America," said Governor Granholm. "Today’s groundbreaking marks a significant milestone in our strategy to diversify Michigan’s economy and grow our continuing leadership position in new energy sectors like advanced battery, solar and wind."

The state of Michigan has invested more than $180 million in tax incentives in the Dow Kokam joint venture to accelerate the state and nation’s commercial success in advanced batteries. In August of 2009, the DOE awarded Dow Kokam $161 million dollars in federal grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to build the production facility.

Dow Kokam’s Advanced Lithium-Ion Batteries

Prismatic lithium-ion batteries, to be produced in Midland, Michigan, will provide greater volumetric and gravimetric energy density than other battery technologies, and store up to three times more energy than nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries currently used in most hybrids.

Large-format battery cells made with Dow Kokam’s technology have over 10 years of proven operations life, while its pack design capabilities have been proven in more than 1 million kilometers of rigorous, on-the-road testing. Dow Kokam batteries have been adopted as the primary power source for equipment in industries ranging from transportation, marine, aerospace, defense and high-end industrial products.

"From the next generation of hybrid vehicles, to unmanned military ground and air vehicles and high-end industrial products, Dow Kokam’s robust lithium-ion technology sets the pace for advanced battery systems in today’s demanding applications," said Shanker.

Dow Kokam brings technologically advanced and economically viable battery solutions to the transportation, defense, industrial and medical industries. Uniting Dow, TK Advanced Battery and Dassault SVE creates the first battery and energy management systems manufacturer to combine viable, scalable large-format battery technology with the market franchise, manufacturing expertise and market knowledge necessary to become the clear partner of choice across industries.

Dow Kokam was established in 2009 to develop and manufacture advanced energy storage technologies for the transportation and other industries. The company is owned by The Dow Chemical Company, TK Advanced Battery LLC and Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault.