NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The number of electric battery factories keeps growing in Tennessee. Just this week, the governor announced Clarksville is getting a multi-billion dollar investment from the LG Corporation. We wanted to find out why Tennessee is fast-becoming the capital of electric vehicles.
An Australian-based company announced this year that they will be moving to Lebanon to make electric vehicle charging stations; GM has a battery plant in Spring Hill for its Lyriq vehicle; in Smyrna, Nissan makes the electric Leaf; and near Memphis, Ford is investing billions in Blue Oval City where the new F-series electric pick up and batteries will be made; and add Clarksville where LG just announced a cathode materials plant for EV batteries.
In choosing Tennessee, many of these companies credit our highways, rail, lower cost of living and workforce. But Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, who heads Economic Development, also said for many of these plants, a reliable electric grid, like the Tennessee Valley Authority, is a huge selling point.
“LG Chem, other manufacturers coming in to Tennessee, they require a lot of power to operate their plants,” said McWhorter. “When we begin conversations with companies, the first call that we make is with TVA, if we haven’t already been talking to them, because it’s that critical to the equation.”
TVA Spokesperson Scott Fiedler said the electric grid works hard to provide clean, reliable energy to grow Tennessee and help attract the industry of the future.
“TVA has been investing billions of dollars over the decades making our system one of the strongest in the nation – companies see that. And when they relocate next to one of our transmission lines or substations, they know they are going to have TVA reliability,” said Fiedler.
Tennessee’s top-notch university system and research institutions like Oak Ridge National Laboratory are also a draw for EV companies, and McWhorter said we can capitalize on these even further.
“I think that one of the opportunities that we have as a state is to really connect those assets so we can present that to the industry.”
He added as long as we stay focused on training workers for these futuristic jobs, the road ahead looks smooth for Tennessee.
“I feel confident that we’ll have some great news to share here soon so stay tuned.”