Mississippi is charging up for the future of the automotive industry
03.02.2023 | Originally posted on www.fastcompany.com
By Mississippi Development Authority
The State is ready to play a major role as consumer demand for electric vehicles increases.
For two decades, Mississippi has been essential to the world’s automotive industry, and with Nissan’s recent $500 million investment to partially convert its Canton plant to begin production of electric vehicles, the state will continue playing a major role in automotive manufacturing as the industry revs up to meet consumer demand for EVs.
“Nissan stamped Mississippi as a top destination for automotive manufacturers when the company rolled out its first vehicle here 20 years ago, and now Nissan will be the cornerstone of the state’s production of electric vehicles,” said MDA Deputy Executive Director Laura Hipp.
Nissan Canton is reshaping its Mississippi operations with innovative EV manufacturing technology to support the production of two all-new, all-electric vehicles for the Nissan and Infiniti brands. This massive economic development project includes the retraining, or upskilling, of 2,000 of the plant’s approximately 5,000 workers so they will be well prepared for the jobs of the future. Since 2003, nearly $4 billion has been invested in the Canton operations by the automotive giant, and in October 2022, the Canton team celebrated the production of the plant’s 5 millionth vehicle.
The reasons why Nissan and other automotive leaders—Toyota, Yokohama, Continental, PACCAR—continually look to Mississippi for expansions and new locations are crystal clear: Mississippi prides itself on having a hospitable business climate, including its “no red tape” way of doing business, customized workforce training programs, and easy, efficient access to domestic and international markets.
AVAILABLE AND PREPARED WORKFORCE
Mississippi’s capabilities in the automotive industry are always on display as more than 200 automotive suppliers employing more than 20,000 skilled workers are located in the state. And with all signs pointing to Mississippi becoming a major player in the production of EV technology, the state is wasting no time preparing its residents for work in these in-demand jobs.
Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems is the state’s epicenter of EV-related technology research and development and is helping train the engineers and workers of the future. The Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi is “developing the leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs of modern manufacturing,” and the Mississippi Polymer Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi offers the state’s manufacturers a variety of services in addition to workforce development, including product development, testing, and manufacturing troubleshooting.
To further ensure companies in Mississippi have access to a trained, reliable labor pool, Mississippi created Accelerate Mississippi to spearhead workforce development initiatives and develop a world-class workforce through partnerships with community colleges and universities.
PREPPING FOR INCREASED OWNERSHIP OF EVS
Many communities throughout Mississippi are proactively installing fast-charging EV stations, as the number of EVs on the road is expected to surge 26 million by 2030. Nissan expects more than 40 percent of its sales by the same year will be of EVs.
“Nissan has been a pioneer in electric vehicles, producing the first mass-market EV: the Nissan LEAF,” said David Sliger, vice president of manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant. “As we transform the Canton plant into a center for EV production with two all-new, all-electric EVs in 2025, Nissan applauds the creation of infrastructure for an innovative, electrified future.”
A MULTITUDE OF ADVANTAGES
EV and EV components manufacturers can rest assured they can get to work quickly in Mississippi. The state has committed funding through its Site Development Grant Program to assist with everything from site prep to installing vital infrastructure to prepare shovel-ready sites that enable companies to go from groundbreaking to production in record time.
Mississippi also understands that speed to market is critical in the fast-paced automotive industry. The state’s well-integrated transportation network allows goods to quickly be moved to domestic and international markets via six interstates; 14 U.S. highways; three navigable waterways; 15 ports, including two deepwater ports on the Gulf of Mexico; five Class-1 railroads; and seven commercial airports.
Additionally, Mississippi boasts an efficient regulatory environment, an abundance of natural resources, a collaborative ecosystem that has led to innovations in every sector, a cost of living nearly 20 percent below the national average and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country.
“The advantages of doing business in Mississippi are plentiful and help our corporate partners, including our automotive leaders, stay on top of the competition. Our pro-business mindset and hospitable business environment together create the ideal location for automotive companies ready to take on the future of the industry,” said Hipp. “We are open for business, and we are excited about the road that lies ahead.”
To learn more about growing your business in Mississippi, go to mississippi.org, or call the Locate Mississippi team at 1 (800) 360-3323. You’ll be glad you did.