Kentucky’s Gov. Andy Beshear has announced yet another major investment in the state’s rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) sector as Microvast Advanced Membrane Inc. will locate a new facility in Hopkinsville with a $504 million investment creating 562 full-time jobs.
“Kentucky continues to position itself as the top EV-related manufacturing location in the country,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are committed to creating an environment where the industries of the future can grow and thrive right here in the commonwealth, and Microvast’s investment is a huge step toward that goal. I want to thank local and state officials, as well as the company leadership, for bringing such an incredible project to Hopkinsville. I am thrilled to welcome Microvast to Kentucky and look forward to their future success.”
The new operation, which will be Microvast’s first in Kentucky, will locate in Commerce Park II in Hopkinsville and consist of a 350,000-square-foot building on 100 acres. With this operation, Microvast intends to build the world’s first mass production facility for its cutting-edge polyaramid separator technology. Polyaramid is a high temperature-resistant, fire-retardant aromatic polyamide, which is commonly used in firefighting garments and insulating papers. The material was part of a United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) technical assessment project, which independently confirmed through U.S. National Labs the polyaramid separator’s specifications and positive impacts to device safety. This facility will help integrate the product into EV battery designs, including Microvast’s cells as well as those of other third-party battery manufacturers. Construction is expected to begin this year and be completed by March 2025.
“We are excited to announce this next chapter for Microvast, as we intend to build the world’s first mass production facility for our cutting-edge polyaramid separator technology,” said Yang Wu, Microvast’s founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “This material took over 10 years to develop internally, and we believe it offers significant safety advantages compared to other polypropylene or polyethylene separator technology available today. We are pleased to expand our manufacturing footprint into Kentucky and are eager to work closely with the local community as we begin construction.”
Microvast holds unique, patented wet-process technology to produce a thin polyaramid base film. Unlike the current widely used polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) based separators in lithium-ion batteries, which melt at approximately 135°C and 165°C, respectively, Microvast’s patented polyaramid separator is capable of resisting temperatures in excess of 300°C. This high temperature resistance, combined with high porosity, excellent wettability and electrolyte retention, improves the overall safety, fast charging and cycle-life of lithium-ion batteries in EVs as well as other applications.
Headquartered in Stafford, Texas, Microvast is a battery solutions provider recognized globally as an industry leader in lithium-ion battery innovation and technology. A vertically integrated manufacturer – producing materials, individual battery cells and commercial vehicle and energy storage systems – Microvast built its reputation on the development of safe, long-life, fast-charging batteries for commercial vehicles, such as buses, port vehicles and construction trucks. The company has three existing production sites worldwide, including its 2 gigawatt-plus site in Clarksville, Tennessee, that is expected to start production in late 2023. To build its expertise in all levels of the battery manufacturing supply chain, research centers in Europe, Asia and the United States have generated more than 630 patent applications (over 400 granted to date) on technology covering the anode, cathode, electrolyte, separator, battery cell design, battery module and pack, BMS and thermal management. To date, over 30,000 Microvast battery systems are in operation in 28 countries with over 6.9 billion miles of operational distance covered.
Microvast’s investment helps solidify Kentucky’s position as a leader within the burgeoning EV sector, with significant investment throughout the past three years. Since June 2020, the commonwealth has seen over $10.5 billion in EV-related investments, with more than 9,700 full-time jobs announced.
Christian County Judge/Executive Jerry Gilliam welcomes the company and looks forward to the impact it will have on the community.
“On behalf of Christian County Fiscal Court and the residents of Christian County and Southwestern Kentucky, we welcome Microvast and their announced investment to our region,” said Judge Gilliam. “We are honored that the company has chosen our site in Commerce Park II for their state-of-the-art facility creating over 550 jobs with over $500 million in capital investment. We look forward to working with the company’s leadership, the State of Kentucky and our regional partners to ensure Microvast enjoys success for generations to come in our less taxing, more relaxing region.”
Hopkinsville Mayor James Knight noted the positive economic impact the company will have on the city and surrounding region.
“The City of Hopkinsville is thrilled to be the next home for Microvast’s newest investment of over $500 million,” said Mayor Knight. “Their Commerce Park II facility will serve as a flagship facility providing critical battery separators for the quickly growing EV battery market. We are thrilled that they’ve chosen to invest in our community thereby creating hundreds of outstanding jobs.”
Carter Hendricks, executive director of the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council, thanked local, regional and state officials for helping to bring Microvast to the community.
“We are ecstatic that Microvast has chosen our region for their next investment in EV battery technology,” said Hendricks. “We’re excited to work with the company leadership as they execute this transformational opportunity for our region’s residents. We thank Gov. Andy Beshear, Secretary Jeff Noel and the Cabinet for Economic Development team, TVA leadership and our regional partners for a tireless effort to secure this important, game-changing investment for Southwestern Kentucky.”
John Bradley, Tennessee Valley Authority’s senior vice president of economic development, is excited about the job opportunities that this investment will bring.
“TVA and Pennyrile RECC congratulate Microvast on its decision to establish new operations in Hopkinsville,” said Bradley. “Helping to attract job opportunities and investment to the Valley is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service. We are proud to partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, City of Hopkinsville and Christian County to further that mission and celebrate this announcement together.”
Microvast’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 44,500 full-time jobs and more than 840 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $25.6 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.