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Charging ahead: battery manufacturing brings new opportunity to the region.

In little more than one year, Michigan has become the new center of the world's electric vehicle and advanced battery industry.

Three years ago the State of Michigan launched an economic development strategy to identify and capitalize on key industry sectors where Michigan had unique and certain competitive advantages. With the Detroit region's automotive heritage, it made perfect sense to initially focus on transportation R&D. Michigan is home to more than 330 transportation R&D companies, employing more than 65,000 world-class engineers.

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In August 2009, the MEDC worked with our Legislature to provide incentives to attract companies from the advanced energy storage sector to locate in Michigan. This strategy resulted in more than $1.3 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) being awarded to companies expanding or establishing operations in Michigan.

"Clearly, the Detroit region is attractive for a number of reasons," said Eric Shreffler, sector development director for advanced energy storage. "It is helpful for [companies] to be located in an area that has highly technical skilled workforce available."

Coupling the world's leading transportation research and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategic plan to support the creation of a domestic advanced battery industry, Michigan is aggressively positioning itself as the global capital for vehicle electrification and battery technology.

Add in Michigan's available highly skilled workforce and federal funding supporting this initiative, which resulted in 17 of the world's battery manufacturing companies to begin operating here, with a total investment of $5.8 billion. These companies will create more than 63,000 new jobs in Michigan.

Today's battery manufacturing industry sector lays a foundation for Michigan's next century of automotive leadership.
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Title Annotation:FEATURE
Publication:Detroiter
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:281
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