DOE supports retooling of U.S. automotive factories for electric vehicle revolution


The Biden Administration set a goal of electric vehicles making up half the vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030. And while automakers around the world have announced investments approaching $1 trillion through 2030, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aims to help move U.S. automakers away from manufacturing gas-powered vehicles with a $15.5 billion package that intends to retool existing factories.

Part of the Investing in America agenda, the package includes $2 billion in grants and up to $10 billion in loans to support automotive manufacturing conversion projects, with a major emphasis on retaining jobs.

Electric vehicles (EV) are forecast to take over as the leading transportation technology. To assist in the transition, the IRA includes $10 billion in tax credits for a variety of manufacturing facilities, including EV and battery manufacturing facilities. In total, between both laws there is at least $145 billion of funding for which EV charging projects could be eligible, according to a report by Atlas EV Hub.

With the recently announced package, the Domestic Conversion Grant Program emphasizes jobs, earning higher scores will be projects that are likely to retain collective bargaining agreements and/or those that have an existing high-quality, high-wage hourly production workforce.

The DOE also announced a Notice of Intent to make available $3.5 billion in funding to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the nation’s grid, as well for battery materials and components currently imported from other countries. A focus here is not only on growing a domestic industry, but also on supporting a growing domestic industry and promoting equity and environmental justice.

Round II of the funding will support growing the domestic industry, while supporting existing manufacturing workers, and promoting equity and environmental justice.  To do that, the program will support communities that have a history of automaking and that have experienced auto workers, and it will prioritize applicant companies that have strong workforce practices and that plant to create high-quality jobs.

“President Biden is investing in the workforce and factories that made our country a global manufacturing powerhouse,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s announcements show that President Biden understands that building the cars of the future also necessitates helping the communities challenged by the transition away from the internal combustion engine.”

Depending on their capital needs, manufacturers can apply to receive assistance via financial grants through DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) or preferable debt financing through DOE’s Loan Program Office.

To apply for a grant, concept papers are due October 2, 2023, and the deadline for full applications is December 7, 2023. Learn more about this funding opportunity.

DOE is also making up to $10 billion in loan authority available for applications under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program for automotive manufacturing conversion projects that retain high-quality jobs in communities that currently host manufacturing facilities.

Interested applicants can learn more about how to apply for these projects here.

Support for battery manufacturing

The DOE also announced an investment of approximately $3.5 billion to boost battery and battery materials production in the U.S. This is the second round of funding made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and its intention is to support the creation of new, retrofitted, and expanded domestic commercial facilities for battery materials, battery components, and cell manufacturing.

Both the conversion grant funding opportunity and battery manufacturing notice of intent will be administered by the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC). Conversion Project loans are made available by the Advanced Technologies Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM), administered by the Loan Programs Office.  Learn more about ATVM projects and eligibility requirements here.

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