Initiative to Boost Michigan’s Advanced Battery Industry for Electric Vehicles

Senator Stabenow Unveils Major Initiative to Boost Michigan’s Advanced Battery Industry at A123 Systems in Livonia. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow unveiled a major new initiative that she authored to expand Michigan’s advanced battery industry and create new clean energy jobs. Stabenow unveiled her new legislation, the Battery Innovation Act, during a press conference at A123 Systems in Livonia. Stabenow’s Battery Innovation Act is the first comprehensive plan offering Michigan companies the support they need to expand advanced battery production and job growth and ensure that America wins the race in the development of new advanced energy technologies. A123 Systems is a developer and manufacturer of advanced Nanophosphate® lithium ion batteries and systems.

Senator Stabenow said: "When we make things here in Michigan, we create jobs here in Michigan. That is exactly what is happening in Michigan with the emerging advanced battery industry and new clean energy jobs that are being created right here at A123 Systems and at companies across our state. This new innovation initiative will create the conditions to ensure our high-tech companies can continue to expand and Michigan can lead the world in advanced battery production and job creation for years to come. We cannot afford to lose the race to build the clean energy technologies of the future to countries like China."

Jason Forcier, Vice President of A123’s Automotive Solutions Group said: "A123 Systems is seeing the strong positive impact that advanced batteries are having in Michigan, from increased demand to growing output for more jobs. The battery systems being produced in our Livonia facility are already serving programs from passenger vehicles to commercial delivery trucks and we are exporting systems to Europe and Asia. The demand has spurred us to grow to more than 1000 employees in Michigan alone."

The Battery Innovation Act is the first coordinated plan that incorporates all aspects of advanced battery production, from research and development, to the availability of raw materials, to the manufacturing of these high-tech products. The Act will build off of initiatives authored by Senator Stabenow in 2009, which helped A123 Systems ramp up advanced batteries manufacturing and create jobs in Michigan.

Senator Stabenow attended the grand opening of A123 Systems’ facility in Livonia in September 2010. The plant is the largest lithium ion automotive battery facility operating in North America. A123 Systems operates three Michigan locations in Livonia, Romulus, and Ann Arbor and is hiring weekly.

The Battery Innovation Act will boost the research and development of advanced batteries and components. This will not only spur the development of more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles but for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles for our military as well. Stabenow’s bill also creates a competition that will provide incentives for researchers to help develop an advanced vehicle battery that can go 500 miles on a single charge.

Finally Stabenow’s plan will spur the domestic supply of lithium, the basic raw material used in advanced battery production, by providing incentives to businesses, consortiums, and local governments working on enhancing lithium development.

Right now, America is losing the race to other countries around the world in lithium development, which is critical to advanced battery production in Michigan and across the country.

Businesses and organizations endorsing Senator Stabenow’s Battery Innovation Act include: A123 Systems, Chrysler, Dow Chemical, Dow Kokam, Ford, GM, Johnson Controls, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Blue Green Alliance, Hybrid Truck Users Forum Stakeholders, Hybrid Truck Action Group, and the United Auto Workers.