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A Look Back: BlueOval City and all that follows

By Sabrina Bates

MVP Regional News Editor

September 2021 marked one of the biggest announcements by the State of Tennessee and Ford Motor Company. BlueOval City is said to be the largest investment by Ford. The 3,600-acre site will house the automotive production plant for the company’s all-electric F-Series truck line, and a battery recycle and manufacturing plant through a partnership with SK Innovation. 

Fayette and Haywood counties are seeing a change to its landscapes as ground was broken at the Memphis Regional Megasite in Stanton for BlueOval City nearly one year after the announcement. Upon project completion, there is an estimation of the creation of nearly 6,000 jobs. Construction is estimated to be finished in 2025.

Since that announcement in the last quarter of 2021, Tennessee has seen a variety of industrial announcements pertaining to the automotive industry, parts, EV batteries and components and even a couple of green-energy production facilities.


Green Energy Parts and Production


LG Chem – Nov. 21, 2022

Clarksville, Montgomery County

LG Chem’s anticipated investment of approximately $3.2 billion represents the single largest announced foreign direct investment in Tennessee’s history. The project is expected to create 860 new jobs with construction underway the first quarter of 2023 and targeted completion in late 2025.

According to the press release issued in November by the State of Tennessee Economic and Community Development office, LG Chem will collaborate with power suppliers in Tennessee to respond to the demands of customers, including battery and electric vehicle manufacturers, for more renewable energy sources. The Clarksville facility will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. It is expected to produce roughly 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027, which is enough to power batteries in 1.2 million electric vehicles with a range of 310 miles per charge. Operation of the new facility will rely completely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power.


Hitachi Zosen Inova USA LLC – Nov. 9, 2022

Knoxville, Knox County

Hitachi Zosen Inova USA LLC (HZI USA) announced it will invest $6.6 million to expand operations at its Knoxville, Tennessee-based North American headquarters.  

HZI USA, which relocated its North American hub from Georgia to Tennessee in 2020, will create 90 new jobs. Hitachi Zosen Inova is the Swiss-based renewable energy arm of Japan’s Hitachi Zosen Corporation. HZI’s U.S. operations specialize in converting municipal and agriculture waste into clean, renewable electricity, natural gas and hydrogen. 


WACKER – July 27, 2022

Charleston, Bradley County

WACKER officials announced their intention to expand its presence in Southeast Tennessee with the addition of new silicone production facilities in Charleston. The expansion would involve a phased investment of more than $200 million over several years and create more than 200 new jobs, adding to WACKER-Charleston’s existing workforce of 700.

The global chemical R&D and manufacturing company will add plants to manufacture high-consistency silicone rubber and silicone sealants used in semiconductor and high-efficiency solar cells.


Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation – March 2, 2022

Oak Ridge, Anderson County

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) officials announced in March they will establish new manufacturing operations in Oak Ridge by investing $13 million in its Pilot Fuel Manufacturing (PFM) facility and create 31 new jobs over the next five years.

Located in the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge pilot facility will specialize in manufacturing the company’s Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM®) nuclear fuel and refractory ceramic (silicon carbide) materials. The inherently safe FCM fuel is designed for use in USNC’s Micro Modular Reactor (MMR™) and other advanced reactors.

The facility will be in close proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Y-12 National Security Complex.


Sinova Global – Dec. 7, 2021

Tiptonville, Lake County

Sinova Global officials announced they will invest $150 million to establish its first manufacturing operations in Tiptonville, a new state-of-the-art silicon metal refining plant, creating 140 new jobs The silicon metal produced at the Tennessee plant will be supplied to major industrial consumers and used to manufacture silicon anode batteries, solar cells, semiconductors and aluminum.

Sinova Global owns a fully-permitted quartz deposit in British Columbia that has more than 25 years of high purity quartz available, which is considered the foundation for the creation of silicon metal, known as an essential building block of the clean energy transformation.


General Machine and Tool – Dec. 13, 2022

Elizabethton, Carter County

General Machine and Tool Company, Inc. officials announced the company will invest $3.7 million to expand manufacturing operations at its headquarters, which followed General Machine’s acquisition by Cinco Research Corporation (Cinco Research) in February. General Machine and Tool Company, Inc. is a premier full-service machine part manufacturer and distributor of one-off parts. Officials noted they will focus on their innovative, patent pending, high temperature reciprocating pumps for nuclear, solar, and energy storage applications, which will support its industrial, energy and defense customers.


Electric Vehicle Batteries and Components


Ultium Cells LLC – Dec. 2, 2022

Spring Hill, Maury County

General Motors introduced its first all-electric Cadillac LYRIQ at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, plant in March 2022. A $2.3 billion investment for an EV battery plant in Spring Hill was announced by GM and LG Energy Solutions. In December, the joint venture of GM and LG Energy Solutions, Ultium Cells LLC, announced it was expanding battery cell manufacturing operations.

The project represents a $275 million investment by Ultium Cells and is expected to create 400 additional jobs. Ultium Cells is expected to employ a workforce of 1,700. It will increase battery cell production by more than 40 percent, from 35 gigawatt-hours to 50 GWh. Production at the 2.8-million-square-foot facility will begin in late 2023.


Daejin Advanced Materials USA Inc. – Sept. 27, 2022

Cumberland City, Stewart and Houston Counties

Daejin Advanced Materials USA Inc. officials announced they will invest $10.2 million to establish its second U.S. manufacturing and processing facility in Cumberland City, Tennessee, in close proximity to its electric vehicle battery customers and partners in the southeastern U.S.

Ultium Cells contracts with Daejin’s for manufacture of process trays for EV batteries. In addition, Daejin Advanced Materials will expand its production to include a new line for plastic injection, plastic extrusion, vacuum forming and assembly.


Hardcoat Technologies LLC – Oct. 21, 2022

Knoxville, Knox County

Hardcoat Technologies LLC officials announced they will invest $6.6 million to expand manufacturing operations at its location in Knoxville, creating 85 new jobs.

As part of this project, Hardcoat Technologies will acquire an existing building and construct a new 23,500-square-foot facility on Papermill Drive. Both operations will support the company’s recent contract with SL Tennessee (GM) and, upon completion, will more than double Hardcoat Technologies’ injection molding, warehousing and assembly capabilities. Hardcoat Technologies specializes in injection molding and hardcoating for the automotive, ATV and industrial markets. 


Piedmont Lithium – Sept. 1, 2022

Etowah, McMinn County

Piedmont Lithium officials announced they will invest $582 million to establish a lithium hydroxide processing, refining and manufacturing facility in Southeast Tennessee. As a producer of lithium hydroxide, a critical component in the supply chain for both the electric vehicle and battery storage markets, Piedmont’s Tennessee Lithium project will support energy security in the U.S. and the transition to a clean energy economy in North America. The new manufacturing plant will utilize more environmentally responsible and economic processing technology, supporting Piedmont’s objective of becoming a large, low-cost, sustainable producer of lithium products.


Duksan Electera America – July 27, 2022

Shelbyville, Bedford County

Duksan Electera America, Inc. officials announced they will invest $95 million to locate its first North American manufacturing facility in Shelbyville. A branch of South Korean-based Duksan Group, Duksan Electera will create 101 new jobs in Bedford County over the next five years.

As an electrolyte manufacturer for the electric vehicle battery industry, Duksan Electera’s expansion to Tennessee will position the company to be geographically closer to its core customer base. The Shelbyville location will be essential to Duksan Electera as the company is responsible for supplying roughly 60,000 tons of electrolytes to battery makers in the southeastern U.S.


Tritium – Feb. 8, 2022

Lebanon, Wilson County

Tritium, a global leader in the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry, officials announced they will establish its U.S. manufacturing base in Tennessee, creating more than 500 jobs over the next five years. Tritium’s Tennessee site will serve as the company’s sole U.S. facility for manufacturing modular direct current (DC) fast chargers, including the company’s award-winning RTM and new PKM150 models. The facility is expected to house up to six production lines, which will produce 10,000 DC fast charger units per year, with the potential to increase production to approximately 30,000 per year at peak capacity.

Production at Tritium’s Lebanon facility began in the third quarter of 2022 and will help the company expand its global impact to surpass the more than 3.6 million high-power charging sessions across the 41 countries where it currently has a presence.


Automotive Manufacturing and Components


Hankook Tire & Technology – Aug. 29, 2022

Clarksville, Montgomery County

Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd officials announced they will invest $612 million in its third major manufacturing expansion since breaking ground at the Clarksville facility in 2014.

Hankook Tire will create 397 new jobs over the next five years. It will complete its Phase Two expansion to double its production of passenger car and light truck (PC/LT) tires while conducting its Phase Three expansion to add the company’s first U.S. production line of Truck Bus and Radial (TBR) tires. Upon completion, Hankook Tire’s Tennessee plant will house the company’s production, warehousing, building, equipment and utilities. The more than two-million-square-foot facility is expected to begin tire production in the last quarter of 2024, reaching full capacity by early 2026. In 2016, the company relocated its headquarters to Nashville. Hankook manufactures tires for electric vehicles.


Bridgestone – Aug. 25, 2022

Morrison, Warren County

Bridgestone Americas officials announced they will invest $550 million in a major expansion and modernization project at its Warren County truck and bus radial tire plant in Morrison.

The 850,000-square-foot expansion is slated to begin before the end of the year, with construction expected to be substantially completed by May 2024. 

Bridgestone’s Warren County expansion will support increased capacity and accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets. 


ATC Drivetrain – March 16, 2022

Knoxville, Knox County

ATC Drivetrain officials announced they selected Knoxville as the location for its newest manufacturing facility. ATC Drivetrain is a leading global independent remanufacturer of automotive powertrain and drivetrain systems, will invest $8.3 million and create 218 new manufacturing jobs in Knox County over the next five years. This is the latest of several new investments ATC Drivetrain has made recently, including the implementation of new technologies and capabilities in the global battery and electric vehicle powertrain market and an increased presence in the commercial vehicle market. The site will allow the company to grow remanufacturing and battery life cycle management businesses.


Parkway Products – Jan. 5, 2022

Greenville, Greene County

Parkway Products, LLC officials announced they will invest $5.7 million to expand its existing operations in Greene County. Parkway is a supplier to the largest automotive OEMs and tier manufacturers around the world. The company is a leader in six niche injection mold processes and has an extensive history and expertise in the aerospace and electronics, agriculture, off-road truck, automotive, healthcare, industrial and infrastructure markets.


More than 180,000 electric vehicles have been produced in Tennessee since 2013, which ranks the state No. 1 in the Southeast for electric vehicle manufacturing.

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