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NC adds to growing ‘battery belt’ by landing another lithium-ion plant, 350 new jobs

Another lithium-ion battery manufacturer is destined for North Carolina, further solidifying the state’s position in an emerging “battery belt” that’s extending across the American Southeast.

On Tuesday, the state approved plans for the Japanese company Dai Nippon Printing to create 352 jobs at a new facility 50 miles northeast of Charlotte. The site in the small unincorporated Davidson County town of Linwood will focus on the production of lithium-ion battery pouches to power electric vehicles.

It’s the latest in a string of statewide lithium-based projects —which include a massive incoming Toyota plant in Randolph County as well as smaller future facilities near Wilmington and in the Triangle.

A pair of lithium mining companies — Albemarle Corp. and Piedmont Lithium — also seek to expand or revive operations in Gaston County, west of Charlotte.

Pouches are a distinct style of lithium-ion batteries that serve as alternatives to harder cylindrical cell designs. Demand for lithium-ion batteries has grown in recent years alongside interest in electric vehicles and energy storage units.

Dai Nippon Printing, or DNP, intends to complete its hiring at the plant between 2026 and 2029, offering an average annual wage of $50,281. The Tokyo-based company plans to invest $233 million at the Davidson site by the end of 2030.

North Carolina edged out South Carolina for the jobs project, the N.C. Department of Commerce said Tuesday. DNP cited operating cost, labor availability, electrical rates, and incentive offerings as factors for choosing the Tar Heel State.

The state’s $3.8 million incentive package to the company includes potential tax benefits over a 12-year period as well as funding for community college training and from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The tax benefits, paid through payroll tax rebates, will only be realized after DNP meets certain annual hiring targets.

Davidson County awarded DNP a separate incentive deal worth $1.85 million.

Southeastern states like Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have announced electric vehicle battery plants in recent years, joining traditional Midwestern auto industry hotbeds Michigan, Ohio and Indiana to form a so-called “battery belt.”

Under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, at least half of a vehicle’s electric vehicle battery components must be produced in the United States to quality for a federal tax credit — a minimum requirement that will eventually rise to 100%. The South’s railway access, lower electricity costs, and more available land have helped attract more domestic production to the region.

Last month, Gov. Roy Cooper lead a delegation of North Carolina officials to an annual economic conference in Tokyo with the stated goal of recruiting more Japanese industry. Toyota, also based in Japan, is currently constructing a $13.9 billion battery site outside of Greensboro.

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