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Michigan Governor celebrates new advanced battery facility that will bring 550 jobs
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm visited the Johnson Controls Technical Center in Holland, Mich., in recognition of the Department of Energy's announcement that Johnson Controls was awarded a $299 million grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant will be used to build domestic manufacturing capacity for advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

"The grants to Johnson Controls and other Michigan companies support our continuing state economic diversification efforts," Granholm said. "We want to establish an entire advanced battery industry in Michigan, with manufacturers and suppliers located here, creating new economic activity and even more new jobs."

The Governor was welcomed by approximately 500 Johnson Controls Tech Center employees, where currently the company is working on design and prototyping for the lithium-ion hybrid battery components, as well as the development and testing of electronics and electrical systems. Phase one of the company's proposal includes construction of the company's first lithium-ion hybrid battery plant in the United States, through its joint venture Johnson Controls-Saft, and will be located in one of the company's existing facilities in Holland.

"In the near term, we plan on hiring between 80 and 100 people to support the project, including construction, engineering, design, and professional services," said Mary Ann Wright, who leads the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture and is vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls hybrid business. "We will be assembling packs next summer, and we'll be manufacturing cells by early 2011."

In April, the Michigan Economic Development Council awarded Johnson Controls-Saft a combination of tax credits and incentives totaling $148.5 million in support of the new facility.

"The state of Michigan has been critical in helping us to make our plans become reality," Wright said. "We are extremely fortunate to have the state's support, and to be standing here today with Governor Granholm as we work toward achieving her vision of a making Michigan the advanced battery capital of the world."

At full capacity, the facility will employ about 550 employees with annual production of approximately 15 million cells, supporting customers such as Ford, Daimler AG, BMW and Azure Dynamics