This year, specialized manufacturer of essential EV-battery technology, NOVONIX, posted two major announcements. Along with Volkswagen’s recent innovations in the electric vehicle space, NOVONIX’s forward-thinking leadership and commitment have resulted in a new partnership on local workforce development, as well as a successful draw-down of significant public investment from Washington, D.C. Building on this momentum, Chattanooga is well-positioned to incubate a robust economic cluster or “hub” built around America’s approaching EV revolution — much like Silicon Valley achieved with the IT sector in the 1990s.
Future-Ready Institute: In partnership with Hamilton County Schools, the NOVONIX Future-Ready Institute for Advanced Battery Technology opened at Lookout Valley Middle High School. The Institute will provide career-focused learning to equip high-school students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the EV-battery industry. A highly specialized curriculum initiated by NOVONIX provides in-lab training, safety tutorials, on-the-job shadowing alongside NOVONIX employees, and a preferred job interview with NOVONIX upon graduation. The company’s $500,000 investment retrofitted a former body shop, where a new interactive classroom and lab feature advanced tools including a state-of-the-art electronic scanning microscope.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Dollars: Two area companies are among the first to receive project funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which aims to expand American manufacturing of battery technology for both electric vehicles and utility electrical grids. NOVONIX received $150 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a factory, and Piedmont Lithium out of Etowah, Tennessee was awarded $141.7 million to produce lithium hydroxide (also an EV-battery component). Chris Burns, NOVONIX co-founder and chief executive, said these funds recognize “our readiness to accelerate the domestic battery supply chain and meet growing global demand from the electric vehicle and stationary grid storage markets.”