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Illinois Secures $2B EV Battery Plant In One Of State's Largest Industrial Deals In Decades

Illinois lured a major electric vehicle battery manufacturer to a village 50 miles southwest of the Loop with an expansive incentive package, part of a deal that will bring thousands of jobs to the state. 

Chinese battery-maker Gotion on Friday inked a deal for a $2B EV lithium battery manufacturing plant in Manteno, per a press release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office. The plant, to be located on a roughly 150-acre site, is expected to spur 2,600 new jobs and is slated to begin production in 2024.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker at Chi Hack Night in 2017

"Today, we take another leap forward, announcing the largest electric vehicle battery production investment in Illinois to date," Pritzker said in the release. "With 2,600 new jobs, a $2 billion gigafactory, and the most significant new manufacturing investment in Illinois in decades — it's the most recent proof that we are in a new paradigm. Illinois is on the rise, and we're open for business.”

Manteno beat out other locations Gotion was considering for the plant, including Joliet and sites in Ohio and South Carolina. 

The new factory will focus on lithium-ion battery cells, battery pack production and energy storage system integration. The Manteno operation will power 500,000 cars a year, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

Illinois shelled out a $536M incentive package to nab Gotion’s business. The state's Reimagining Energy and Vehicles Illinois program makes Gotion eligible for tax benefits totaling $213M over 30 years. Per the terms of the REV agreement outlined in the release, the company must invest a minimum of $1.9B and create 2,600 full-time jobs that pay at least 120% of the average wage of similar jobs in Kankakee County.

As a part of the incentive package, Gotion will also be the first recipient of $125M in Invest in Illinois capital funding. Illinois signed the funding into law earlier this year to make the state more attractive when vying for large projects in highly competitive sectors like clean energy, according to the release. 

Local officials also approved a property tax abatement for 30 years on the site.  

Energy and environmental protection are common challenges across the globe, according to Gotion Chairman Li Zhen. Solar power, wind and energy storage systems are helping to address those problems, he said. 

"All that we see here [in Illinois] are of enormous value to us: an enabling business environment, a supportive state government for the new energy industry and their highly efficient work, as well as the prospects of the State of Illinois in the coming years,” Zhen said in the release.

“When we come to Illinois, we are not building a new factory but are planning to reuse an existing one and bring it back to life again as our way of cherishing and conserving resources.”

Electric vehicles are gaining a rapidly accelerating share of the global market, as sales across the world exceeded 10 million in 2022, per the International Energy Agency. In the U.S., 300,000 electric vehicles were sold in 2020, while 1.6 million were sold in 2022. 

The share of electric cars in total global sales has increased more than threefold in the past few years, from about 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022, the agency reported. 

“This new facility will be a game-changer in our state's economy, creating new jobs and showing our continued commitment to making Illinois a renewable energy manufacturing powerhouse,” Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said in the release.