The Motor City is moving south as EVs change the automotive industry

September 6, 2022
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Nissan’s Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant opened in 1983, marking Tennessee’s first major auto facility. The plant employs more than 7,000 people are produces a variety of vehicles, including the Leaf EV and Rogue crossover. Michael Wayland / CNBC


Automakers are investing in towns across the American South to manufacture electric vehicles. While the new plants bring tax and workforce advantages the expansion south comes with unique challenges.

Detroit is the city that “put the world on wheels,” but it’s towns like Spring Hill and others in neighboring states that are attracting the most investments from automakers in recent years, as production priorities shift to a battery-powered future with electric vehicles.

Companies more than ever want to build EVs where they sell them, because the vehicles are far heavier and more cumbersome to ship than traditional models with internal combustion engines. They also want facilities for battery production to be close by to avoid supply chain and logistics problems.

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