BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – As a major Electric Vehicle investment has been canceled by the Department of Energy, some encourage similar treatment of the proposed Gotion EV Battery plant in Big Rapids amidst similar security concerns about Chinese government involvement.
Michigan continues to plunge forward seeking heavy investments for several EV related production plants, Gotion has received criticism from two former US Ambassadors who have asked US Secretary of Energy and former Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, to consider their security concerns and cancel contracts with the project.
“To further protect our national security, consistent with your cancellation of the Microvast grant this week, we request you cancel the contract the Department of Energy’s United States Advanced Battery Consortium has with Gotion,” the letter from former Ambassadors Pete Hoekstra and Joseph Cella said.
They further explained the differences between the Texas based Microvast which was not awarded funding and the Gotion project.
“This should be an easy call considering Gotion is a subsidiary of a parent company based in the PRC, whereas Microvast is a U.S.-based parent company with only a subsidiary in the PRC,” the letter said, “Having unvetted PRC nationals working for CATL in Marshall or for Gotion in Big Rapids, is as much of a national security threat, or more so, as is the $200 million Microvast grant cancelled by DOE.”
Earlier this week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) decided to cancel a $200 million grant to the lithium-ion battery firm Microvast regarding a prospective project in Kentucky, without providing a statement, though some have voiced concerns about possible ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
The decision has been praised by some like Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR).
“The Department of Energy has finally retreated from sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to Microvast, an electric vehicle battery company with close ties to Communist China. I’m stunned it took the Biden Administration this long to admit the obvious: no company beholden to Communist China should be considered for U.S. government grants or loans. The administration should immediately reject other applicants with similar ties. It should also overhaul its grant making process and conduct due diligence before issuing press releases.”
The DOE was also criticized for not sharing its reasons for deciding to not grant funding after it had previously made it seem that investments in Microvast were close at hand. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) provided opening remarks at an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing earlier this week questioning the decision.
“Yesterday evening, the Department informed the Committee that it has decided not to proceed with the $200 million dollar award to Microvast,” US Representative Rodgers said, “While the Department did not provide a reason for this decision, this development reinforces our concerns about the process for vetting applicants for these substantial awards.”
The ambassadors also referenced a recent testimony by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jill Murphy who called the economic espionage threat from China “the greatest long-term threat to our nation’s ideas, innovation, and economic security.”