On August 11, 2011, President Obama visited Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan to highlight how this once-shuttered factory is helping rev up the advanced battery and electric vehicle industries in the United States. This long-dormant plant was revived by a $300 million Recovery Act grant, which allowed Johnson Controls to secure the private investments it needed to select the Holland facility over several overseas locations.
Similar Recovery Act investments have helped position the United States to lead the charge in advanced battery production, practically building the industry from the ground up in less than two years. In 2009, the United States accounted for just 2 percent of the world's advanced batteries. Over the next few years, the United States will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support 1 million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, thanks to strategic Recovery Act investments and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.
"Look what's happening in Holland, Michigan. Every day, hundreds of people are going to work on the technologies that are helping us to fight our way out of this recession. Every day, you're building high-tech batteries so that we lead the world in manufacturing the best cars and the best trucks," said President Obama. "And that just doesn't mean jobs in Michigan. You're buying equipment and parts from suppliers in Florida and New Mexico and Ohio and Wisconsin and all across America… At a time when Americans are rightly focused on our economy, when Americans are asking about what's our path forward, all of you here at Johnson Controls are providing a powerful answer."
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy visited the Holland plant early last year, and got a chance to interview Plant Manager Elizabeth Rolinski (watch the video) about how the investment boosted the surrounding economy.