• Brandon Colvin

Electric vehicle tech expands in Alabama with new manufacturing plant

Governor Kay Ivey joined officials with Dura Automotive Systems on Thursday to celebrate the formal unveiling of the company’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals, which will produce electric vehicle battery enclosures.

The 200,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ more than 270 full-time workers at peak production, with an estimated investment of $75 million. It will supply lightweight aluminum EV battery enclosures to the Mercedes-Benz electric battery assembly plant in Bibb County.

“It has been 25 years since Mercedes-Benz helped launch our automotive industry, and in that time, Alabama has grown to become a national leader in vehicle exports,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “I’m incredibly excited to welcome Dura Automotive Systems to Alabama’s booming automotive industry, and I look forward to seeing this company continue to grow in our great state.”

The Alabama facility is Dura’s most recent addition to a growing family of worldwide sites and home to the company’s first lightweight structures investment in North America. The premier site is designed to support the rapid production of luxury electric vehicles planned throughout the next decade.

The high-tech manufacturing processes at Dura’s Alabama facility will utilize advanced robotics and proprietary forming and joining technologies to create lightweight structures used for EV battery systems.

"This milestone event celebrates our continued partnership with customers to accelerate the transition to electrified, high-performance vehicles," said Dura CEO Carl Beckwith. "On behalf of Dura and our investors, I extend appreciation to our employees, Mercedes-Benz, and the many individuals in the government and supply base that worked above and beyond to make this vision a reality. Your accomplishment adds yet another steppingstone along the path toward a zero-emission future."

The Muscle Shoals factory boasts significant safety, efficiency, and environmentally clean processes. These include:

• A symphony of more than 60 robots, trained and conducted by technical experts, is deployed throughout manufacturing.

• More than 500 light curtains, lasers, and proximity switches are active to ensure safety for personnel throughout the site.

• Extensive LED lighting throughout the building is controlled through motion activation to minimize energy consumption.

• Advanced water treatment systems fed by reverse osmosis processes reduce water consumption and protect the clean water supply.

"I am thrilled with the teamwork employed to build this impressive new facility and even more excited about the career opportunities it creates," said Paul Underwood, Dura’s Muscle Shoals Plant Manager. "This was a truly collaborative effort with local and global technology experts working hand-in-hand to bring to life an amazing site that will be the foundation for additional job creation in our community."

Planning and construction of the new facility were completed in just eight months, leveraging the collaborative efforts of Dura technical teams, suppliers, and government officials.

Dura’s new Alabama facility is becoming operational as Mercedes makes preparations to begin building two luxury EV sport utilities at its 6 million-square-foot assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County this year.

“The opening of Dura’s highly advanced EV battery enclosure manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals reflects the expanding capabilities of the automotive supply chain for electric vehicle production in Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Our auto sector is fully focused on what the future holds for the industry and will continue to evolve to meet all challenges.”

 

Courtesy of the Office of Governor Kay Ivey

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