Biden lauds EV charging plant in Tennessee as latest sign of ‘manufacturing comeback’

President Biden speaks to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh after an event to sign an executive order regarding project labor agreements at Irownworks Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Friday, February 4, 2022.
Greg Nash

President Biden on Tuesday said the creation of a facility to build chargers for electric vehicles in Tennessee is part of a comeback for American manufacturing and a sign of the post-pandemic jobs resurgence. 

“We’re seeing the beginnings of an American manufacturing comeback,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “The world’s at an inflection point, things are going to change in a big way, and this is one of those transition moments.”

Tritium, an Australian company, announced on Tuesday it is building a U.S. manufacturing plant that will begin production in fall 2022 and have the initial capacity to build over 10,000 fast-charging units per year.

The plant will have room to expand to building 30,000 units per year and plans to employ more than 500 people over the next five years.

“Today’s announcement is part of a drumbeat of jobs resurgence like more than anything we’ve seen before,” Biden said.

“The bottom line is the United States is in a position to out-compete the world once again,” he said, adding that he looks forward to working with Democratic and Republican governors to keep the work going. 

The plant will be the largest Tritium factory globally, the company’s CEO Jane Hunter said at the White House. She called the creation of the facility a story of American-Australian partnership.

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) were also present for the remarks. 

Biden called the Tritium announcement good news for the planet and said “it’s going to deliver greater dignity and a little more breathing room to workers and their families and it’s going to have a ripple effect beyond, far beyond, one state.” 

The bipartisan infrastructure law, which the president signed in November, included $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers. Biden said he will announce later this week a state-by-state allocation for $5 billion of the funding for chargers so states can start making plans to build out networks of chargers.

Biden said this funding will help ensure that the U.S. leads the world on electric vehicles. 

“China has been leading that race up until now, but this is about to change because America’s building convenient, reliable, equitable, national public charging networks,” he said.

He added that “the foundation will help American automakers set the pace for electric vehicles.”

Biden mentioned Intel’s recent announcement that it will invest $20 billion to build chip factories and General Motor’s announcement that the auto giant will invest nearly $7 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing sites in Michigan.

“Announcements like this don’t happen by accident. They require vision and a commitment to build a future that’s made it America,” he said. “I made it clear from day one, when the federal government spends taxpayers dollars, we’re going to buy American.”

Tags Electric vehicles EV chargers Gina McCarthy Jennifer Granholm Jim Cooper Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg Tritium

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