Rome-Floyd County Development Authority forming E-Mobility task force
As automakers and even heavy equipment manufacturers continue to go electric, the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority is working to create a task force to assist local businesses about changes in the industry.
The plan is to pull together stakeholders, RFCDA President Missy Kendrick said, because there’s a strong push toward electric vehicles.
“I don’t want to be reactive,” Kendrick told the authority board this week. “I want us to be proactive. … I don’t want us to be left behind in that effort.”
As automakers shift toward putting more and more electric vehicles on the road, they’re also looking at battery production.
That brings more people to the South, where electricity is cheaper than in many traditional manufacturing states.
The competition is fierce to bring in Toyota’s new $1.29 billion factory to produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. The factory would create 1,750 jobs and start operating in 2025. The states where Toyota already makes vehicles — like nearby Alabama — are already seen as early front runners.
Ford in late September announced an $11 billion investment in manufacturing a strong, dependable supply of essential parts for electric vehicles. Two battery plants will be built in Glendale, Kentucky. A battery plant and the truck assembly plant will be built in Stanton, Tennessee.
General Motors Co. said in early October it’s switching to source 100% renewable energy power at all of its U.S. sites by 2025 — five years ahead of its previous target date.
It’s not just cars. There are a lot more electric heavy equipment and construction vehicles now, and coming in the future.
“You’d be surprised,” said authority member Cassandra Wheeler, Georgia Power’s Northwest Georgia regional director. “When we think about electric vehicles, we just think about transportation, but in industries, many (electric) vehicles are also used in manufacturing and industry.”
For example, Amazon’s biggest and newest warehouse in Delaware boasts a massive number of robots. The site has been touted as a vision of an automated future when machines do all the work of moving everything from groceries to laptops, from makers to users.
The scene in that five-story plant is described as eerily quiet by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“An electromechanical ballet performed by robots takes place in an eerie quiet. Robot vehicles, guided by optical and motion sensors, make turns tightly adjacent to one another, selecting and carrying Amazon’s vast array of merchandise from storage to delivery,” the story stated.
Amazon is also developing drones and self-driving vehicles, all of which require electricity.