Oct 24, 2022 - News

Georgia among "Battery Belt" states to receive grant money

A map of the United States showing the locations and names of companies that won federal funding to improve the EV industry

Map: U.S. Department of Energy/Axios Visuals

Georgia gave Hollywood competition for the film production industry. Will it do the same to Texas and Michigan for electric vehicles?

Driving the news: The U.S. Department of Energy last week awarded $2.8 billion to 21 projects — including one in east Georgia — building the country's so-called "Battery Belt."

Details: Solvay Speciality Polymers' $178 million grant will cover half the cost of its proposed plant near its existing operation in Augusta.

  • The plant will make a special material that helps batteries keep their charge longer, although the company's board of directors must give the final OK first.
  • According to the company, its product called PVDF is used by nearly all battery suppliers.

The plant could create 500 construction jobs and 100 manufacturing jobs, according to U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Catch up quick: The electric vehicle revolution isn't just about cars.

  • Making the shift to cleaner technology requires facilities that can process materials to make computer chips, workers to build new batteries and recycle old ones, and chargers galore so drivers don't get stranded.
  • Georgia will receive $135 million in federal funding to expand its EV charging infrastructure, the bulk of which is concentrated in metro Atlanta.

The big picture: Georgia's aggressive pursuit (and generous public incentives) have made it a prime landing spot for EV manufacturers and affiliated businesses.

  • In the past year, Hyundai and Rivian have signed on to build EV and battery plants in Bryan County and near Social Circle, respectively. Rivian plans to roll 300,000 vehicles off lines every year.

The knock-on businesses follow. In the Augusta metro, a German company broke ground this summer on a plant to recycle copper and a Japanese manufacturer will make copper foil — crucial components for EVs, the Augusta Chronicle notes.

Yes, but: Georgia's gung-ho attitude about EVs doesn't trickle down to incentives for drivers to make the switch or policies to combat climate change — the very big problem that EVs are supposed to help address.

  • In addition, tax incentives and giveaways add up, and pushback from the public can delay or derail projects.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Atlanta stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more