Hitachi to Produce Hybrid Electric Vehicle Batteries at Mercer Plant, Add 60 Jobs

By wmadministrator

Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. has selected its Harrodsburg plant to handle its North American lithium-ion battery pack production.

The new manufacturing capability will add 60 new jobs and represents an investment of approximately $12 million.

Hitachi just recently completed construction of a new 153,000-s.f. factory on its existing 85-acre Harrodsburg site. The $68 million expansion project, which was announced in 2010, created 145 new jobs in Harrodsburg, where the company produces sophisticated automotive electronics. With the latest expansion, the plant will also produce battery control electronics, which will be installed as part of the battery pack assembly.

Hitachi also announced plans this past August to establish its third Kentucky manufacturing facility in Berea, where it will soon start production of motors that will power advanced electric-powered automobiles. The Berea plant will create 130 new jobs and represents a $74.5 million investment.

Lithium-ion battery pack production at the Harrodsburg plant is expected to begin in 2012, with the first product shipment going out in 2013. Hitachi’s future plans also include the production of electric inverters for hybrid electric vehicles, which will be manufactured in its Kentucky plants.

“Hitachi is one of the few automotive suppliers with the capability to develop and produce our own lithium-ion batteries, electric drive motors and the electronic controls needed to manage electric powered automobiles,” said Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas President Mark Fujisawa. “The North American production of these hybrid electric-vehicle batteries complements our North American production of hybrid vehicle motors, which we announced last month. We are excited to further expand our United States production operations with the manufacturing of these batteries produced in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Since 2009, Hitachi has added a total of 335 new jobs and invested more than $154 million in its Kentucky locations.

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