As we are all aware, Duksan America is constructing a manufacturing facility in Shelbyville to make electrolyte for batteries to be used in electric vehicles or EVs. I know that several of our local …
As we are all aware, Duksan America is constructing a manufacturing facility in Shelbyville to make electrolyte for batteries to be used in electric vehicles or EVs. I know that several of our local Shelbyvillians have been diligently working to acquire this business. They should all be thanked for their work. As the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Mr. Stuart McWhorter stated, “Tennessee is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution.” With the Ford Blue Oval plant in West Tennessee, the GM EV battery plant in Spring Hill, the Cadillac EV plant in Spring Hill, Nissan EVs in Smyrna and Volkswagen manufacturing EV models in their Chattanooga facility – there is no doubt that Tennessee is the manufacturing hub of EVs in the United States.
Apparently, several Republicans in this state including our own Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Bill Haggerty and our US Representative Scott Desjarlais have not gotten the memo about the Tennessee EV industry. The federal Infrastructure Bill included $7.5 billion to build over 500,000 EV charging stations throughout the US. EV charging stations are needed to keep these vehicles moving. The bill passed, both Senator Blackburn and Senator Haggerty voted against it as did Rep. DesJarlais. The new Tritium EV charger manufacturing plant in Lebanon, which has 500 new jobs, is a direct result of this bill.
The Build Back Better initiative, which never got voted on in the Senate because of Republican opposition, included a tax credit for electric vehicle purchase; however, a new bill called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes tax credits for both new and used electric vehicles and lifts the cap off the number of electric vehicle owners that can receive the credit as a function of the manufacturer – which will be a boon to our Tennessee EV builders. This bill is going through reconciliation because it is anticipated there will be no Republican support, which includes our Senators and Representatives. Senator Blackburn is already bad mouthing this bill.
Finally, the Semiconductor Bill which recently passed, encourages the manufacturing of semiconductors in the US. As we know an EV is nothing more than a computer on wheels – so US manufacturing of these items will assure supply – and our Tennessee EV auto plants would not shut down because China cut supply of semiconductors. Our own Senator Blackburn voted against this bill. It now goes to the House; the bet is that Representative DesJarlais votes against it. I add that Blackburn and Haggerty voted against supporting Ukraine funding as DesJarlais; DesJarlais voted against supporting NATO on two separate bills – who are these elected officials working for?
As a Democrat, I have little influence over our US Senators and our US Representative. However, there are people in this community that do. The question before all our local Republicans is – Do you want this EV industry in Tennessee? If so, then let's all work together to get and keep it, including having our federal representatives support it. If not, then get your diesel pickup and run up and down the road with the Let’s Go Brandon flag fluttering in the wind while blowing coal. Remember though, the Chinese are building an EV auto industry and will ship those vehicles to Tennessee.
Van H. Ayers
Chair, Bedford County Democratic Party