The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new manufacturing plant for electric vehicle chargers will begin production in Tennessee this fall.
The plant will be the first domestic – and the largest – plant owned by Tritium, an Australia-based EV charger manufacturing company, with the goal of creating around 500 jobs over the course of the next five years near Lebanon, Tennessee.
“The new manufacturing facility of Tritium announced today is more than just great news for Tennessee,” President Joe Biden said during a White House ceremony on Tuesday. “It’s going to deliver greater dignity and a little more breathing room to workers and their families. And it's going to have a ripple effect far beyond the one state.”
“This is great news for workers across the country for an economy and frankly, for the planet,” he added.
The plant will have an original capacity to produce around 10,000 direct current fast chargers per year, with a potential to scale up to 30,000 annual units at peak production. Union workers will be employed to install the chargers along U.S. roads and highways with the goal of creating thousands of additional jobs across the country.
The new plant “will support U.S. economic ambitions to grow onshore manufacturing in advanced technologies, while also growing jobs that don't leave anyone behind,” Tritium CEO Jane Hunter said Tuesday.
Hunter said that "we could not be prouder to announce that's we'll be opening a U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee," touting the fact that the factory will create "American clean-tech jobs" and employ "more than 500 people over the next five years."
A number of GOP lawmakers from the state applauded Tuesday’s announcement, with Biden commending Gov. Bill Lee for helping the deal move forward, remarking it is “another example of what America can achieve when we come together, Democrats and Republicans, to get things done.”
The Biden administration has placed a significant emphasis on increasing access to and domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and their charging stations.
Around $65 billion from last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law aims to bolster the nation’s electrical grid, with $7.5 earmarked specifically for EV charging stations. The White House plans to release a state-by-state allocation for $5 billion of those funds later this week so governors can “start making plans to build out what will become a national network of electric vehicle chargers,” Biden said Tuesday.
Biden in August announced the goal of having electric vehicles make up 50% of domestic car sale shares by 2030. The administration has a number of hurdles to overcome in order to reach that goal, as just 7% of Americans currently own an electric or hybrid vehicle, according to a June 2021 poll from Pew Research.
The president has also made no secret of his desire to be economically competitive with China in the EV industry, and has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to get the U.S. “off the sidelines” in the green technology marketplace. As of late last year, U.S. sales of electric vehicles hovered around a third of those in the Chinese market.
“It's going to help ensure that America leads the world in electric vehicles,” Biden said of the new Tritium plant. “China has been leading that race up to now. But this is about to change. Because America is building convenient, reliable, equitable, national public charging networks.”