Shift to EVs Triggers Biggest Auto-Factory Building Boom in Decades – by Nora Ekert (Wall Street Journal – January 1, 2023)

Car industry has earmarked billions for EV projects—much of it directed to the South

The U.S. auto industry is entering one of its biggest factory-building booms in years, a surge of spending largely driven by the shift to electric vehicles and new federal subsidies aimed at boosting U.S. battery manufacturing.

Through November, about $33 billion in new auto-factory investment has been pledged in the U.S., including money for the construction of new assembly plants and battery-making facilities, according to the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit organization based in Michigan.

The 11-month total adds to the $37 billion in new auto-factory spending committed in 2021, when a number of new projects were revealed in states such as Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. The annual figure is up from $9 billion in 2017 and a more than eightfold increase from two decades ago, the center found.

About two-thirds of the new auto investment revealed over the past two years is going to sites in the U.S. South, the data shows, tilting activity farther away from the Great Lakes region, the auto industry’s stronghold for a century. The race by auto makers to populate their lineups with electric vehicles is the biggest factor behind the factory-spending spree.

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