Chinese firm receives $530 million in state incentives to build EV battery plant in Illinois, sparking national security concerns

News & Politics

A Chinese company is set to receive more than $536 million in state incentives and tax breaks to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Illinois, WLS-TV reported this month.

Democratic Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker offered Chinese Communist Party-linked battery manufacturer Gotion hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to build a plant in Manteno, a village just outside of Kankakee, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago.

The $2 billion project is estimated to start production in 2024 and generate 2,600 jobs. Full-time workers are expected to receive approximately $55,000 in annual salary, at least 120% of the average wage of similar jobs, the Chicago Tribune reported. The lithium-ion batteries will be used in electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

After nearly two years of negotiations with the state, Gotion has agreed to a deal to receive over $330 million in tax incentives to build the factory.

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Despite the recently announced deal sparking national security concerns for many, Pritzker touted the development as “the most significant new manufacturing investment in Illinois in decades.”

“Illinois is leading the charge, literally,” Pritzker wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Gotion’s new EV lithium battery manufacturing plant is coming to our state — the largest EV battery investment here EVER at $2 billion. It will create 2,600 good-paying jobs and help our goal of putting 1M EVs on our roads by 2030.”

Manteno Mayor Tim Nugent voiced support for the new project.

“Gotion selecting Manteno to be the home of their new state-of-the-art battery facility brings the promise of a great future for the village, the county, the region and the state,” Nugent said. “Today’s news propels our area into the center of a new emerging technology that will benefit all who will become involved in it.”

Mark Denzler, president of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, a trade association, called it a “big win” for the governor and the state. He applauded Pritzker for making Illinois “competitive with neighboring states.”

“The IMA worked with the governor and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass these changes in the General Assembly, and it’s great to see today’s announcement of significant new jobs and capital investment that are a direct result of these new laws,” Denzler stated.

Illinois is already home to two EV facilities: a Rivian factory in Normal and a Lion Electric plant in Joliet. The state also aims to transform its shutdown Belvidere factory into a Stellantis EV plant. Additionally, it is pushing for Ford to convert its Torrence Avenue facility for EV production, according to Chicago Business.

Pritzker waved off concerns over Gotion’s ties to the CCP. The governor’s spokesperson previously stated, “Many companies with Chinese ties have manufacturing facilities in the United States and many U.S. companies have manufacturing facilities in China.”

“Gotion Inc. is actually headquartered in California and is majority owned by Volkswagen. The deal is strictly business; it creates jobs and brings billions in investment to Illinois cementing our future as a leader in the EV space,” the spokesperson added.

Gotion Inc.’s parent company, Gotion High-Tech, is based in Hefei, China.

In October 2022, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer backed a plan to build a Gotion EV factory in Michigan.

Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president, Chuck Thelen, previously stated that the CCP has “no presence” in Gotion Inc.

“The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality,” Thelen told Politico.

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