A Chinese electric vehicle battery manufacturer, Gotion Inc., approached a small town in Alabama last year to propose a factory development project. However, the project was ultimately rejected over national security concerns tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Gotion then pursued alternative locations and received approval from Michigan and Illinois for battery-related facilities. This article examines the concerns raised by local officials and experts, the actions taken by various states, and Gotion’s response to the allegations.
Rejected Proposal in Muscle Shoals, Alabama:
Gotion Inc., a California-based company with ties to the CCP, approached the Shoals Economic Development Authority in Alabama to gauge interest in a factory project. However, local officials who reviewed the proposal ultimately rejected it after learning more about Gotion and its affiliations.
The proposed project was intended for the site of a closed factory in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Details about this rejected proposal have only recently come to light.
National Security Concerns Raised:
Opponents of Gotion’s projects, including former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella and Republican lawmakers, have voiced concerns about the company’s ties to the CCP. Gotion High-Tech, the parent company, has clear connections to the Chinese Communist Party, as indicated by its corporate bylaws and reports on CCP-related activities.
Additionally, a Michigan law firm registered Gotion Inc. as a Chinese foreign principal. Critics argue that the Chinese government’s influence raises national security risks.
Gotion has defended its plans in the United States, stating that its parent company is publicly owned and that the CCP has no influence over its operations. The company declined to comment on specific prior proposals, including the one in Alabama. Gotion’s vice president of North American operations, Chuck Thelen, highlighted the extensive investigation conducted when choosing Michigan and Illinois as their preferred locations for development.
Projects Approved in Michigan and Illinois:
After an extensive search for suitable locations, Gotion announced a $2.4 billion investment to build a component factory in Big Rapids, Michigan, in October 2022. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the project, emphasizing its significance for Michigan’s position in the electric vehicle industry.
Additionally, Gotion announced a $2 billion battery cell facility in Manteno, Illinois, in September 2022. Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker supported the project, providing substantial taxpayer-funded incentives.
The rejection of Gotion’s proposed project in Alabama due to national security concerns surrounding its ties to the CCP highlights the