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The EV shift is also stimulating Detroit’s smaller companies

Another aspiring southeast Michigan manufacturer is a new player in battery manufacturing, American Battery Solutions. The Orion Township., Mich., company, northwest of Detroit, started in 2019 with 12 employees. It now has 200 employees and expects $50 million in revenue next year. CEO Subhash Dhar projects $1 billion by 2028.

“It’s not a crowded space at all,” Dhar said. “There are a lot of people trying to get into this space, but there’s not a whole lot of competition.

“You need the component supply agreement with suppliers, you need customers and you need the know-how to connect the two.”

Funding is another major factor. American Battery is owned by investment fund KCK Group, which has invested $200 million in it to date. Most of the sales are from battery supply deals for buses, delivery trucks and industrial equipment, as well as storage facilities for utility companies.

Dhar said the 120,000-square-foot plant in Michigan is focused on prototype production and testing, while another 180,000-square-foot plant in Ohio handles mass production. Full-scale production of battery packs for buses and trucks is scheduled to start in 2022 and will require hiring 100 Michigan employees, he said.

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