Former Detroit Piston Hall of Fame guard Dave Bing, now Mayor of Detroit, addressed Detroit in his first state of the city speech, which was short and sweet. As a diehard native of Detroit, I hung onto every word generated from Mayor Bing mouth. In particular, I was most interested with matters concerning Detroit’s energy future. As Mayor Bing briefly discussed energy, I instantly had a light bulb moment. He mentioned the fact that General Motors (GM) world headquarters is located in Detroit, and is launching one of the most anticipated electric automobiles ever, while zero battery manufacturers are located in the actual City of Detroit.
Although this was a revelation, it’s not a total surprise trying to understand why industries are still hesitant about coming to Detroit for reasons I won’t mention in this article, however it is surprising that Detroit attributes of owning a world class manufacturing work force, tons of available property, infrastructure and a business friendly Mayor, still isn’t enough to lure in the much needed relevant industries for the moment.
GM has awarded the lithium-ion battery contract to Compact Power Inc. (CPI). CPI is one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries producers, but is located in Troy, Michigan. GM has also teamed up with the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) to create the Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains (ABCD), which focuses on battery research and development. And also recently this year, GM unveiled their first battery pack produced off the assembly line, at a former empty facility in Brownstown, MI. Surprisingly, GM is the first major automotive company to elect to build their own battery packs in house.
Even though various aspects of battery production were kept within the Metropolitan Detroit area, in which I give GM lots of praise for, there remains nothing for the actual City of Detroit to hang their hat on when it comes to energy manufacturing regarding the electric vehicle battery components.
Bringing businesses back to Detroit was one of Mayor Bing focuses when addressing the City of Detroit. As he stood before Detroit, the State of Michigan and national audience, Mayor Bing not only revealed his displeased non involvement of battery production, it was more of a public call out to those companies needing to take heed of Detroit’s apparent attributes and qualities.