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Incentives approved for "once-in-a-century" battery plant proposal near Big Rapids

EV charging
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Michigan is preparing its infrastructure for an EV revolution

A China-based electric vehicle battery maker is hoping to get state tax incentives to build a $2.4 billion dollar factory near Big Rapids.

If completed, the massive factory to supply batteries for electric vehicles could create more than 2,000 jobs, according to Gotion Inc, the company proposing the factory.

Monday night, local county and township leaders in Mecosta County approved a renaissance zone designation for the proposed factory site that would allow Gotion to basically operate tax free at the plant for decades.

Paul Bullock, administrator for Mecosta County, called the factory a “once-in-a-century opportunity.”

Mecosta County commissioners, along with the boards for Green Charter Township and Big Rapids Charter Township voted unanimously to approve the renaissance zone designation.

“There are still numerous steps to be taken before this project becomes a certainty, but this is a terrific start toward positioning the region at the center of West Michigan’s growing mobility and EV sector,” said Randy Thelen, head of The Right Place Inc., a non-profit economic development group based in Grand Rapids.

The project is next expected to go before members of the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, for approval of state-level incentives and tax breaks. Full details of that proposal have not yet been made public.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.