“This is Michigan's day and this would not have happened without the public-private partnership,” Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm said at the plant's opening. “A lot of people say there shouldn't be industrial policy, but countries all over the world are doing this and the U.S. cannot be left behind.”
Production at the facility began even since this August, with the plant now spitting around 50,000 battery cells a month. When it will reach full throttle, the capacity of the plant will be at around 1 million cells a month, or more than enough to be fitted into 30,000 vehicles.
The facility where A123 hopes to achieve this impressive numbers, which is the former home of Technicolor, has been built with the help of a $249 million US Department of Energy grant, offered through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and $125 million received from the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund.
For now, the facility operates with what may be considered a skeleton staff comprising of only 300 people. By the end of 2012 however, A123 believes it will have about 3,000 employees on the payroll in Livonia, in Romulus (coating plant) and Ann Arbor (research and development facility).
“There are people that think American can run on white collar jobs and services. We can't,” added US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Clean energy is the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”