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- Oct 05, 2023
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UPDATED (11/20/23) Frequently Asked Questions concerning the proposed Gotion Facility – click for details
UPDATED (11/20/23) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS / GOTION EV BATTERY PLANT IN MANTENO, IL
1. What are the benefits for residents of Manteno and Kankakee County when Gotion builds its EV battery manufacturing plant at the location of the abandoned Kmart warehouse?
Gotion is committing to invest more than $2 billion to create a state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) lithium battery manufacturing plant on the currently abandoned Kmart warehouse site in Manteno.
Gotion plans to hire 2,600 employees, and these new jobs will pay 120% of the average wage of similar job classifications in Kankakee County.
Beyond jobs, this kind of economic growth in our community will stimulate other businesses coming, like restaurants, retail and other commercial operations which will additionally support the tax base, sponsor our youth athletic programs and more.
As part of the state of Illinois’ commitment to build out comprehensive EV hubs and support Illinois’ workforce, the state will fund a new manufacturing training academy nearby, as well as award an additional grant to workforce providers to expand training and prepare regional employees for the new jobs.
Once the plant is open and operating, Gotion will be paying real estate taxes up to $2 million a year for the next 30 years – which is double what the empty property contributes now.
As Governor Pritzker said when he traveled to Manteno on September 8 for the announcement, the Gotion EV battery manufacturing plant is “the most significant new manufacturing investment in Illinois in decades.”
2. What steps are the Village of Manteno and state taking to ensure the safety of local residents from environmental pollution and fire concerns associated with the manufacture of lithium EV batteries?
Gotion or any EV lithium battery manufacturer operating in the U.S. must meet strict permitting protocols and regulations imposed by federal and state laws and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Gotion’s plant in Manteno will also have to comply with all Illinois EPA regulations.
Village of Manteno will be additionally ensuring Gotion’s strict compliance with all federal and state regulations through its code enforcement officer, in conjunction with the Manteno Fire Department. and outside, independent experts experienced in these type of facilities. Manteno’s fire chief and code enforcement officer will travel to Gotion’s plant in Germany this month to learn about the company’s manufacturing process, ask questions and bring back information to consider.
3. What incentives have been offered by Illinois and/or Manteno to bring the Gotion EV battery manufacturing plant here?
Gotion’s decision to locate its EV battery manufacturing plant in Manteno at the site of the abandoned Kmart warehouse was bolstered by a Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV) Illinois incentive package and the new Invest in Illinois fund.
Gotion’s total incentive package from the State of Illinois, which includes REV, Invest in Illinois, and other incentives, is valued at $536 million. Through REV, Gotion is eligible to receive tax benefits totaling $213 million over 30 years. The REV agreement specifies a minimum company investment of $1.9 billion and the creation of 2,600 full-time jobs that are paid at least 120% of the average wage of similar job classifications in Kankakee County. A link to the executed REV agreement can be found here.
Gotion will also be the first recipient of Invest in Illinois funding in the amount of $125 million in capital funding to the company. The Fund was signed into law in early 2023 to make Illinois more attractive when vying for large projects in highly competitive sectors like clean energy. A link to the executed Invest in Illinois agreement can be found here.
The Village of Manteno, Kankakee County and our eight other taxing bodies agreed to cap Gotion’s real estate taxes at $2 million annually for 30 years. Currently the real estate tax bill for that abandoned Kmart property is just shy of $1 million, so this is a 105 percent boost.
4. Some are saying that Gotion, a Chinese company, will bring Communism to Manteno, or could possibly engage in espionage for the Communist Chinese government, especially being located “right next to a military base.” What about these concerns?
First of all, it is not true that the Gotion EV battery manufacturing plant will be constructed “next to a military base.” The only military in any proximity to the proposed Gotion plant are the National Guard in Kankakee (14 miles from the facility) and an Army Reserve camp in Joliet nearly 30 miles away.
In terms of rumored espionage, there is a process for screening foreign companies doing business in the U.S. According to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, “National security is a foremost priority, and we deploy a wide range of tools to safeguard it.” The federal government reviews and can block business activity of non-U.S. companies through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, also known as CFIUS.
Gotion has already been operating for a number of years in Fremont, California and Independence, Ohio. Gotion was recently given a federal green light in Michigan.
5. How do Manteno, Kankakee County and Illinois benefit if China brings over hundreds of workers to staff this Gotion manufacturing plant?
The Gotion EV battery manufacturing plant in Manteno will create 2,600 full-time jobs, with employees being paid at least 120% of the average wage of similar job classifications in Kankakee County. Around 50 of those 2,600 employees will be from China, and their sole purpose will be to conduct training on the EV battery manufacturing process.
Kankakee Community College will also be providing training programs for this kind of work. This is another benefit of the project, supporting academic training that will raise the local education level and readiness for jobs of the future.
6. If the Village of Manteno and the state of Illinois are giving so many tax incentives, won’t our real estate taxes go up? How can residents be protected?
The services that the local units of government will be providing for the Gotion plant will cost less than the $2 million a year they will ultimately be paying in real estate taxes. Other retail, restaurants and commercial operations that will locate in the area because of the plant will increase the tax base as well.
Plus, if you are a resident of Manteno, own your single-family home and have lived in that house the previous tax year, you get a 100% refund of the Village portion of your property tax bill. (This can be accomplished by going to Village Hall, bringing your paid tax bill, plus a photo ID for the individuals listed on the deed as the property owners, and filling out a form. The owners will then receive a check by mail for the Village of Manteno portion of the property tax bill).
7. What about the traffic that comes with a giant plant like this – workers going in and out on shifts, supplies being trucked and freighted in … how will residents be protected from this?
The good news is the State had already planned to rebuild the I-57 interchange, making it four-lanes instead of two, widening the I-57 bridge and adding a sidewalk. And, the County will widen County Highway 9 from two lanes to four lanes, and install a traffic light at the intersection of County Highway 9 and Spruce Street. The engineering firm designing the expanding County Highway 9 on behalf of the Illinois Department of Transportation will be holding a hearing in Manteno in late October where Village residents will have the opportunity to hear the plan and offer comments.
8.What role will the Village play during construction of the plant?
Manteno’s code enforcement officer, fire chief and outside independent experts the Village hires for their experience and guidance will review all plans before any construction occurs to ensure the health, safety and security of all future employees and Manteno residents is protected. There will be checkpoints built into the construction process as well, to ensure that everything is being built according to plan.
9. How will the new Gotion plant affect residential water supply? What about the wastewater that comes from the plant?
Residential water supply will not be affected by the water needs from the Gotion plant. Aqua Illinois, the Village’s water supplier, has assured us that their local water supply is more than sufficient to properly equip both the plant and residents with uninterrupted, clean water. Everyday, Aqua Illinois has capacity through two water lines coming from the Kankakee River to supply more than 8 million gallons of water into the Village of Manteno – far more than is used by residents and businesses.
Rural residents with wells won’t be impacted at all given that the Gotion plant will be serviced through Aqua and the Kankakee River
Wastewater coming from the Gotion plant will be emptied into Manteno wastewater facilities, just like our sewer lines. Aqua Illinois has said that they expect the Gotion plant’s wastewater will be marginally more acidic than what their treatment facilities would accept. Because of this, Aqua Illinois has already discussed with Gotion that this plant will be required to pre-treat any wastewater coming from its facility, similar to how other manufacturing plants in the area are required to do. Once pre-treated, Aqua Illinois has said that the wastewater coming from the Gotion plant will be no more risk than typical residential discharge.
10. How much additional semi truck traffic will be caused by the new Gotion plant when it’s fully functional?
The future Gotion site’s proximity to 1-57 means trucks bringing supplies or shipping out finished batteries won’t need to travel in the Village. And, while it is estimated that there will be semi truck traffic going to and from the plant, it likely will be much less than the amount of large truck traffic that came to and from the Kmart warehouse distribution center at that location when it operated 1993 – 2018. In addition, the new roadwork and expansions of County Highway 9 and I-57 were planned before the Gotion plant was up for consideration, and it is expected that these updates will help to alleviate traffic congestion.
11. What exactly is being assembled at this plant?
The Manteno Gotion plant is to be the last stop in EV battery production – so it will accept parts from the Gotion Michigan plant, when it is up and running, and other facilities, and perform the final assembly. The final batteries will then be transported to automakers where they can be installed into electric vehicles.
12. Will the quarry blasts affect the new Gotion plant in a negative way?
Gotion is well aware of the quarry proximity to its site.The state of Illinois has monitoring in place at the quarry and similar sites throughout the state that regulate vibration and sound. These monitors measure the vibrations coming from the site and alert state and local officials if they exceed movement or sound limits.
13. When will hiring begin at the Gotion plant and how can one apply for open positions?
Here is the Gotion hiring timeline that is known at this time. It’s important to note that this is an innovative facility using the latest technology which means Gotion is still developing the job requirements for these positions but has made it a priority to finalize job requirements in order to start the hiring process.
The first round of hiring will tentatively occur by end of the year (December 2023) and the tentative plan is to hire 20-40 individuals. After the first round of hiring, Gotion will hire throughout 2024 with the tentative plan to be fully staffed by early 2025.
How does one apply for these positions? Tentatively the open positions will be posted on the company website so everyone can apply online. The Worforce Board working with area partners such as Kankakee Community College, NAACP, local municipalities, Kankakee County government, and other interested parties will market the open positions through different social media platforms, post at different locations and other recruiting ways to help spread the word the positions are posted. In addition, tentatively future in person hiring events are being discussed to ensure everyone has access to apply for these positions. As we know more, we will let everyone know.
14. Can you provide a brief overview of the facility’s operations and its role in the production of lithium-ion batteries?
In the proposed Manteno plant, we will be making three products for customers: Energy Storage Systems (ESS), battery cells, and battery packs.
ESS are 20-foot containers used by large companies for renewable energy storage. We will receive pre-made components from other places and assemble them at the Manteno facility.
For the battery cells, we will also receive raw materials from other places – again, we do not manufacture the cell’s raw materials onsite. Therefore, any potential environmental or safety concerns related to manufacturing the raw materials will not be present in our Manteno facility.
The third product coming out of our Manteno plant is the battery pack, which is assembled from battery cells. Packs are used by electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers for their cars and trucks.
15. What safety precautions are taken during the manufacturing process to prevent accidents or battery failures?
We will uphold a high standard of fire protection. We are onboarding a fire protection specialist consulting firm to make sure we’ll implement a high fire protection standard that properly covers our assembling and manufacturing activities onsite.
At our other factories, similar procedures are followed to ensure the safety of our people and environment. Our internal EHS team will ensure that our operations meet, and in many aspects exceed, all local and state safety regulations.
In our trip to Germany, we saw a number of stringent procedures followed, well above what is required from regulatory bodies – things like monitor for heat within the cells themselves, F500 foam at the ready in multiple fire extinguishers, a trained internal staff around fire safety so they can mitigate any problem even before the fire department gets there, and more. We plan to model our fire safety around the highest standard of procedures available.
16. How is the facility equipped to handle and mitigate potential safety risks like thermal runaway?
The facility will have F500 foam fire extinguishers, which are used for class-A fires, and especially powerful for fire mitigation and suppression of overheated synthetic materials such as lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, and more. We will also have hundreds of sensors that will notify our team of any potential failures well before they would lead to fires.
All personnel will be trained to operate fire extinguishers and suppression systems.
17. What emergency response plans are in place for potential incidents involving lithium-ion batteries, such as fires or chemical spills?
Our internal EHS team is currently preparing an emergency response plan based on our experience in other lithium-ion battery production facilities, including those in Germany and China.
All staff will be trained in the use of F500 fire extinguishers and suppression systems. Drills will be completed no less than annually or more frequently if required by local, state, and federal codes.
18. How will the facility engage with the local community to address any concerns or questions they may have about safety or environmental impact?
We have been sharing information with the local community through our website, updated Q&A’s and more. Our Village website allows for questions to be posed and we are answering them directly as well. Community concerns will also be address at the upcoming planning commission hearing.
The following information was provided by the State of Illinois:
- There are numerous Chinese companies doing business in Illinois and more than 1,400 Chinese companies in the United States. We live in a global economy and foreign companies doing work in the United States are an important part of our economy.
- Total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China to the U.S. amounted to $53.7 billion in 2021 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- Gotion is a worldwide company that is already operating in the U.S. and has been for years. It is subject to all U.S. laws.
- Gotion’s headquarters are in California and they have a research and development center in Ohio.
- Gotion’s largest shareholder is Volkswagen, which owns approximately 25% of the company.
- Multiple federal administrations have overseen Gotion Inc. doing business in the U.S.
- California headquarters opened under the Obama administration
- R&D facility in Ohio opened under the Trump administration
- Plant planned in Michigan under the Biden administration
- No administration has taken action to prevent its operations in the U.S.
- Gotion has operated in the U.S. in good standing for nearly 10 years
- The state of Illinois was competing with several states to land this significant investment for Manteno.
- Just like with any company that qualifies for state incentives, Gotion signed contracts that require billions of dollars in investment in Manteno and the guarantee that a certain number of jobs are created. If they fall short of the requirements in that contract, the state has the right to claw back any incentives.
- Companies receiving incentives from the State of Illinois must meet many requirements, including but not limited to:
- The company must submit a detailed application identifying the type of company, the name of company officer and/or owners, and the type of project.
- The company must certify that it is in good standing, is authorized to do business in Illinois, and has no delinquent tax liabilities.
- In addition to this certification, the company must provide a certificate of good standing from the Secretary of State, and a tax clearance letter from the Department of Revenue.
- Illinois also conducts a thorough search of court filings and public records relating to the company to ensure there are no concerns with the company.
- Like all manufacturers in Illinois, Gotion must meet federal and state requirements to operate here.
- Federal Guidelines – Gotion, or any EV lithium battery manufacturer operating in the U.S., must meet strict permitting protocols and regulations imposed by federal laws and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- State Guidelines – Above and beyond federal EPA requirements, the Illinois EPA has robust environmental regulations that Gotion’s plant will be required to meet as well.
- Incentive Requirements – Through their REV agreement, Gotion is also required to have a contract with a recycling facility or demonstrate its own recycling capabilities, and report on that annually.
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