Holland, Mich., is claiming bragging rights for housing production facilities for LG Chem and Johnson Controls, two companies that make lithium ion batteries for electrical vehicles that were ranked at the top of the heap by a recent study of the emerging industry.
"That makes us the battery capital of North America," said Randy Thelen, president of the economic development outfit that helped bring the factories to Holland.
"In no place else in the country have you seen more production and more investment in the battery industry than right here," Thelen said. "That bodes very well for where we're headed."
The two companies, which started production in new factories on Holland's south side last year, also are creating a supplier base of 14 new and existing companies, Thelen said. The fledgling industry employs about 400, he said.
LG Chem produces batteries for the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus EV. And at Johnson Controls' facility in Holland, about 100 employees produce lithium ion batteries for the Ford Transit Connect Electric and other manufacturers.