The growth of the plug-in electric vehicle market brings more and more investments in the U.S. and one of the latest was just announced by the DURA Automotive, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
On August 25, the company held official groundbreaking of a manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where from April 2021 it will produce lightweight aluminum EV battery trays.
The investment in the new site is estimated to be $75 million (media reports that the manufacturing facility will cost $59 million) and will result in 279 new jobs.
"Construction of the new facility is planned for completion by April 2021. The state-of-the-art manufacturing site will house advanced robotics, along with proprietary forming and joining technologies to create lightweight structures including those used for electric vehicle (EV) battery systems. Investment in the new site is estimated to be $75 million. The 200,000 sq. foot facility is projected to employ 279 full time workers at peak production."
For each EV, the battery tray designs are custom engineered and manufactured specifically to an automaker’s performance objective - the company explains.
"Batteries in Electric Vehicles are housed in a battery tray, often integral to the vehicle chassis system. DURA produces lightweight aluminum battery trays, complete with integrated cooling systems. The modules are precision manufactured and sealed to safely encapsulate components of the battery, control systems, and monitoring electronics."
The official press release does not reveal who is the customer but notes that shifts toward electrified vehicles naturally lead to use lightweight materials.
It's DURA's first lightweight structures manufacturing facility in North America, while in Europe soon there will be three sites for lightweight parts in various applications.
"In 2020 DURA launched its latest lightweight structural systems plant in the Czech Republic. In 2021 it will launch an additional site in the Republic of Macedonia to produce lightweight exterior systems. A third European site will be open in 2021."