If the plan moves forward, construction could start in the second or third quarter of this year, with a build duration of roughly two years.
“We wish to start quickly. It’s all dependent on the state and local governments,” he said. “But we do not have a final obligation from either side yet.”
Thelen, who worked at Bosch for more than 20 years before joining Gotion, would serve as the plant manager. He recently moved from Oakland County to Mecosta County.
The plant would ultimately be overseen by parent company Gotion High-Tech Co. Ltd, whose C-suite and board members are based mostly in China.
Thelen said he is in charge of hiring managing directors at the plant, which he hopes to complete by the end of the year. He said the goal is to have primarily American workers, with an emphasis on local recruiting, but some key positions will require multilingual speakers to coordinate with sites in China, Germany and India.
He said it is not known whether workers at the factory would be represented by a union.
Most of the product from the factory will be supplied to Gotion plants that make final batteries, and the rest would be supplied externally, Thelen said. The company’s battery plants are in China, but it recently built its first foreign plant in Germany.
Thelen did not detail the company’s overall U.S. investment plans or say if Michigan could be in play for future investments.
“We are looking to be an international player, bringing the expertise that’s already been defined in the China market to the rest of the markets,” he said. “A lot of wonderful work has gone into many patents, not just for product but also process. We plan to bring that expertise and high-quality workmanship to the United States.”