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Oct. 6, 2022, 12:24 p.m. EDT

Former Apple car executive’s battery startup plans $1.6 billion factory in Michigan

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By Tim Higgins

Our Next Energy Inc., an electric-car battery startup involving several former leaders of Apple Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -0.57%  secretive car project, is planning to invest $1.6 billion into a factory in Michigan to make enough battery cells for about 200,000 EVs annually.

The state of Michigan on Wednesday approved a $200 million grant for the project that promises to create 2,112 new jobs once the facility in Van Buren Township, about 10 miles west of the Detroit airport, is fully operational by the end of 2027. The company must create and maintain the jobs or face a clawback of the funds.

The investment is part of an influx of battery capacity being built in the U.S. as companies race to provide car makers with the cells they will need for all of the EVs they are planning. That effort has only intensified following  the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act , which aims to jump-start domestic battery production. The law ties consumer tax credits for buying EVs to how much battery material comes from domestic production.

“The Inflation Reduction Act has literally made [our] phone ring off the hook,” Mujeeb Ijaz, founder and chief executive of the company, known as ONE, said in an interview. “We’re seeing a lot of emphasis on the U.S. supply chain and U.S. cell manufacturing.”

The company said it plans to produce at full capacity 20-gigawatt hours, including lithium iron phosphate cells, annually or the equivalent of battery packs for about 200,000 vehicles each year. ONE hasn’t said which car makers it will be supplying.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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