How two Biden initiatives have supercharged the electric vehicle industry in Arizona

How two Biden initiatives have supercharged the electric vehicle industry in Arizona

electric vehicle manufacturer is one of a number of companies in the electric vehicle industry—like Lucid Motors and KORE Power—that have benefitted from the state’s welcoming attitude. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Penelope Kramer

May 20, 2024

The success of two key laws’ efforts in bringing about an electric vehicle boom can be found in Arizona, where Lucid Motors has announced massive expansions.

The recent growth is largely due to President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which have brought the state more than $11 billion in tax breaks and investments to build electric vehicles, EV batteries, and 25,000 new EV charging stations.

“These investments … are not just helping us fight climate change,” said Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. “They’ve created more than 11,000 good-paying jobs here in Arizona—not overseas.”

Lucid, which employs 2500 people, plans to quadruple the size of its Casa Grande plant to four million square feet. And KORE Power, a battery cell developer, just opened a 1.3 million-square-foot lithium-ion battery factory that will employ 1250 people in Buckeye.

“The demand for domestic battery production was put into hyper-drive by the passage of the IRA,” said Suzanne Swink, a vice president for KORE.

Ripple Effect

Federal spending also helps those who don’t receive it directly. This year Legacy EV, which has trained at least 350 students in EV manufacture, repair, and conversion, has been able to expand its program to schools because those schools have gotten grants, according to Legacy EV Curriculum Director Baily Soto.

“We’re so excited by the number of schools telling us, ‘We finally have the funding for EV training,’” said Soto.

Most Significant Climate Law in History

In addition, the IRA, which passed without a single Republican vote, is the country’s biggest-ever investment in fighting climate change.

Together, the IRA and BIL are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030—welcome news to Arizonans who sweltered through last summer’s 110-degree hellscape.

Here’s what new projects have been funded by the Biden administration’s flagship laws:

  • 25,000 electric vehicle charging stations: The Inflation Reduction Act provides roughly $76 million over five years to support the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state. More than $27.6 million has already arrived.
  • LG Energy Solution: Partly driven by the IRA, this South Korean battery manufacturer is spending $5.5 billion on a battery factory in Queen Creek.
  • American Battery Factory: ABF broke ground on October 26, 2023, on a new $1.2 billion battery manufacturing plant in Tucson. It’s expected to hire 1000 employees at full build-out, with average annual salaries of $65,000, and have an estimated economic impact of $3.1 billion over a decade.”
  • Lucid Motors, which makes the Lucid Air Pure—named one of Car and Driver‘s 10 best models for 2024—is expanding to produce its upscale Gravity SUV.
  • EcoBAT: The world’s largest battery recycler is opening its first North American lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Casa Grande, bringing 60 new jobs to the area.
  • KORE has raised a potential $1 billion in loans and corporate investments to build its KOREPlex “gigafactory,” which will produce made-in-America lithium-ion batteries. VP Suzanne Swink says this will “cement the state’s role as a leader in the domestic production of the battery cells needed to power EVs.”

“We all must do our part to fight climate change and protect our planet,” said Kelly, a former astronaut. “Watching our planet spin through space. There’s a moment when it becomes abundantly clear: There is no Planet B.”

Author

  • Penelope Kramer

    Penelope Kramer is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, AP wire service, Utne Reader, WFN.com, Intuition, Fitness and Parenting. She has ghostwritten several books and loves helping new writers get their work written and published.

CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE
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