Here’s a list of all the companies investing in the American EV market
The Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credits encourage electric vehicle and battery manufacturers to expand their operations in the U.S. Companies are already making moves to do just that.
Automakers and battery manufacturers are moving almost in lockstep to bring large-scale operations to the U.S. in anticipation of car buyers looking to take advantage of the IRA's EV incentives.
Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol covering climate. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 10, 2022
Part of the Inflation Reduction Act's $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit is tied to manufacturing battery components in North America and sourcing critical minerals from there. That initially riled up some automakers, who claimed it would be an undue burden.
Fast forward a few months, and companies are moving almost in lockstep to bring large-scale operations to the U.S. in anticipation of car buyers looking to take advantage of these EV incentives.
So far in 2022, automakers have announced more than $13 billion in domestic EV manufacturing investments and $24 billion in batteries. That’s triple the amount invested in domestic EV manufacturing in 2020 and 28 times the investment in batteries, according to a White House analysis .
The U.S. has played a negligible role in the making of EVs and the mining, processing, and production of their components, Sara Baldwin, the director of Energy Innovation’s electrification program, said. Meanwhile, countries like China have long been ramping up for the EV expansion, dominating manufacturing and securing not only the intellectual property to serve the market, but also the mining operations critical to their growth.
“We weren’t prepared for this or planning for this,” Baldwin said of the U.S.
The IRA is helping the country play catch-up.
It’s undeniable we’re already starting to see the first wave of EV and battery manufacturing onshoring. “This is just the beginning of a long-term shift that’s going to take place,” said Rachel Patterson, a policy lead at climate advocacy group Evergreen Action. Some state-level policies like California banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035 could help spread EV adoption even further while still other states offer incentives for manufacturers to set up shop. That could convince more automakers to build plants and source minerals from the U.S.
Here’s a running list of all the companies investing in the American EV market:
Tesla: The EV maker is reportedly partnering with Panasonic on a $4 billion EV battery plant , set to be built in Oklahoma. The two companies already jointly operate a battery factory in Nevada and had previously announced in July a plan to build a separate $4 billion EV battery factory in Kansas. Both Kansas and Oklahoma have incentive packages in place that would attract the corporate investment. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the potential Oklahoma factory news, also reported that Tesla is pausing its German expansion plans to potentially shift its battery cell-making operations to the U.S. in order to qualify for IRA tax breaks. Sources also told Electrek that the company is finally planning on expanding its Nevada gigafactory to be used for battery cell manufacturing.
Kia and Hyundai: Kia is planning on moving some of its EV assembly to the U.S. by 2024, according to South Korean news sources. (Its flagship EV is currently built in South Korea.) The South Korean automaker and its parent company Hyundai currently have the second-highest market share for EVs in the U.S., and it looks like they want to keep it that way. Hyundai had already made plans earlier in the year to invest $5.5 billion to build EV and battery manufacturing plants in Georgia , near existing Hyundai and Kia plants. At the time, the company didn’t expect to start production until 2025, but it looks like it’s now moving those plans forward by a year in light of the IRA.
Honda: The Japanese automaker and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution announced that they’re building a $4.4 billion EV battery plant in the U.S . in late August. They’re targeting production for the end of 2025. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that the plant will be in Ohio , where Honda has an existing auto plant. These batteries will be used exclusively to power Honda and Acura EVs made in North America.
Toyota: The Japanese automaker announced an additional $2.5 billion investment into its battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina, more than doubling its prior commitment of $1.29 billion, announced in December. Production is scheduled to begin in 2025, and batteries produced would be used in both hybrids and EVs. The plant is expected to employ 2,100 people, and the announcement came two days after Honda’s announcement.
General Motors: The largest auto company in the U.S. is investing $760 million in its existing Toledo plant to make drive units for its EVs. The plant will be the company’s first powertrain or propulsion-related factory to be converted into an EV-component maker. GM also said it’s investing $491 million in an Indiana plant to make parts for future vehicles, including EVs.
Ford: The American automaker announced plans to invest $11.4 billion in two EV hubs , one in Tennessee and another in Kentucky. The $5.6 billion complex in Tennessee will vertically integrate battery manufacturing with the assembly of the company’s electric F-Series trucks. Through a joint venture with South Korean battery business SK Innovation, $5.8 billion will go towards building two Kentucky battery plants, which will supply batteries to Ford and Lincoln’s North American EVs. The company plans on investing more than $30 billion in EVs through 2025.
Gotion High Tech: Chinese battery maker Gotion is opening a new $2.36 billion plant in Michigan . Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called it the “biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan.” Like other states that successfully courted battery makers, Michigan granted the company plenty of tax incentives to build the plant ( $715 million to be specific). The facility is set to produce 150,000 tons of cathode material and 50,000 tons of anode material a year once operational.
Our Next Energy: The Michigan-based startup announced a $1.6 billion investment in a new battery cell plant that will be operating at full capacity by the end of 2027. This will be the company's first cell factory, according to founder and CEO Mujeeb Ijaz. The company is also starting a workforce development program meant to retrain Michiganders for green jobs.
Piedmont Lithium: The North Carolina-based lithium producer announced an approximately $600 million investment in a new lithium hydroxide production plant in Tennessee. The company said production is slated to start in 2025, and it claims the plant will be the largest lithium hydroxide processing facility in the U.S.
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Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.
September 29, 2022
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
September 23, 2022
Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.
From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Patents are the primary means of protecting IP — trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets offer additional IP protection — and represent a rule-of-law guarantee akin to a deed’s role in protecting land ownership. The founders of the United States wrote patent protection into the Constitution to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” Abraham Lincoln revered patents for adding “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”
A fireside chat with Qualcomm
The workplace is anxious. Here’s how to handle it.
To combat anxiety in the workplace, managers have to “lead from the front.”
Companies are now realizing that making the workplace a less anxious space is not only in the best interest of their employees but it’s also good for business.
Photo: Liubomyr Vorona/iStock/Getty Images Plus
October 10, 2022
Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
Kwasi (kway-see) is a fellow at Protocol with an interest in tech policy and climate. Previously, he covered global religion news at the Associated Press in New York. Before that, he was a freelance journalist based out of Accra, Ghana, covering social justice, health, and environment stories. His reporting has been published in The New York Times, Quartz, CNN, The Guardian, and Public Radio International. He can be reached at email@example.com.
October 10, 2022
When Veronica Belmont returned to work after 16 weeks of maternity leave, she said she felt pressure to catch on everything she missed and immediately go full throttle like she had before.
As a 40-year-old in tech, she also felt the need to go over and beyond to thrive in an industry that “is typically a very young person's career or is seen that way,” she said.
“There's a lot of pressure that I would put on myself to say, well, ‘There's people who are coming up who are younger, they have more free time, they have more energy, how can I compete with that?’” Belmont, senior product manager at Adobe, told Protocol.
Belmont, who lives with generalized anxiety disorder, is quick to say that those stresses were largely personal and that her company has good internal policies to help workers cope with mental health issues.
The nature of work — as many people knew it before March 2020 — has also changed significantly with entirely remote or hybrid work becoming the “now normal,” as David Kingsley, chief people officer at software company Intercom, prefers to describe it. For many, the separation of the work and the personal self has ceased to exist as the two are now so often intertwined as we continue to work, at least part of the time, in our homes.
“That means we are spending less time in offices, there’s fewer in-person interactions, and that is shrinking our relationship ecosystem,” Kingsley said.
Whether anxiety at work comes from the pressures of one’s personal life affecting the work they do or the demands of the job affecting the personal, companies are now realizing that making the workplace a less anxious space is not only in the best interest of their employees but it’s also good for business.
Anxiety screening for everyone
Last month, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which reports to Congress annually, recommended that all U.S. adults under 65 be screened for anxiety as part of routine care.
“The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for anxiety in adults, including pregnant and postpartum persons, has a moderate net benefit,” the task force said alongside giving the draft recommendation its second-highest grade.
The recommendation comes after two years of a pandemic that has radically transformed every aspect of life and triggered what many experts are calling a mental health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, about 15% of the working-adult population has a mental health disorder at any one time.
“A person’s capacity to participate in work can be consequently impaired through a reduction in productivity and performance, reduction in the ability to work safely, or difficulty in retaining or gaining work,” it said in a new report released last month .
It added to further signaling from the global health body about the pandemic’s impact on the world’s mental health. In March, the Geneva-based organization said during the first year of the pandemic, anxiety and depression increased by 25% globally, a figure it concedes is an underestimation.
“The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health,” he added.
Role modeling by leaders
Making the workplace less anxious starts with managers.
“Many employees feel like they need to show up to their boss at all times, in all ways, as infallible and unflappable,” Kingsley said. “Those of us in leadership roles need to acknowledge that this is one of the places where we should be able to be most profoundly human because when we are feeling our true whole selves, we are going to do our best work.”
Belmont agreed on the importance of leading by example, even for people who haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety or panic disorder. “Everybody is feeling a heightened level of anxiety right now,” Belmont told me. She recommended patience and “a little extra space and time for people to figure out what works best for them.”
After overseeing three wellness days in 2022 where everything work-related was shut down, Kate Parente, chief people officer at Pega, says one key ingredient is for everyone to participate.
For Parente, it is not enough for company leaders to institute wellness days and generous vacation policies without being seen to be participating themselves.
“The key to success is actually doing it and it means leading from the front: having our executive leadership team model the behavior that says, ‘No, we are not going to send emails today, no, we are not going to have meetings today.’”
How many work Zoom meetings have begun with short pleasantries and then it’s straight to the agenda? While it may be efficient, it leaves out some of the social interactions colleagues had in pre-pandemic days.
“Back when we all worked in offices together, we would gather around a coffee machine or a water cooler and we would talk about life,” recalls Kingsley. “We would just check in, we didn't come up with an agenda.”
He recommends being intentional about making unstructured time routine so that colleagues and managers can have virtual tea or coffee to talk about anything outside of work. While it may not be as organic as bumping into each other in the office kitchen, it allows remote colleagues to remain in tune with each other and be deliberate about it.
A targeted benefits package
Even before the pandemic, a 2015 survey by Glassdoor found that a company’s benefits package was a major decision point for nearly 60% of prospective employees who had job offers. The pandemic has heightened that demand from employees who want a workplace that not only offers competitive salaries, but also offers a generous benefits package. Tech company offerings run the gamut from unlimited paid time off, fertility, and parental and bereavement leave to subscriptions to mindfulness apps.
“Things like mindfulness and wellness services, those are things that are not really super expensive, but they are things that can make a world of a difference,” Parente said. “Even if someone never uses them, knowing as a new employee that your employer spends the money on this and offers it to everyone just sends a signal that we prioritize wellness.”
But for Belmont, whatever you do, if you must schedule happy hours on Zoom (which she is no longer a fan of, even though she helped organize some at the start of the pandemic), please do it within working hours: at 3pm, not 5pm.
“My face literally hurts from talking to people on video conference all day and so for me, the last thing I want to do is spend additional time after my work day, still on a Zoom call,” she said. “I also respect and understand that it's very hard to find those moments to relax and get to know your co-workers better. As long as they are happening in the workday and not after hours, I think that's probably the key.”
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In an interview with Protocol, Kurtz said that while "everyone wants to make sure customers are protected," Microsoft should place a higher priority on "creating secure software."
George Kurtz, CEO of CrowdStrike, spoke with Protocol about secure software.
Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images
October 9, 2022
Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach ) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 9, 2022
The continuance of large numbers of security vulnerabilities in Microsoft software and architectural weaknesses in some of its systems, such as the Active Directory identity service, should be troubling to any customer, CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO George Kurtz told Protocol.
"Customers are asking the question, 'Do I really want to put all my eggs in one basket, with a company that has a long history of not creating secure software?'" Kurtz said in a recent interview.
"Some will. Some are going to do it,” he said. “But there are a lot of companies that are saying, 'This can be a real risk to the company, using both Microsoft for security as well as applications, cloud, and everything else.'"
Kurtz, of course, is far from unbiased, given the fierce competition between his company's Falcon endpoint detection and response product and Microsoft's EDR, Defender. IDC figures have shown CrowdStrike in the lead on endpoint security market share, with 12.6% of the market in 2021, compared to 11.2% for Microsoft. However, CrowdStrike's growth of 68% in the market last year was surpassed by Microsoft's growth of nearly 82%, according to the IDC figures.
Speaking with Protocol, Kurtz discussed Microsoft's strategy of bundling Defender into its higher-tier Office 365 productivity suite, known as E5, as well as Microsoft's efforts to keep vulnerabilities out of its software. He also spoke about upcoming product categories that CrowdStrike plans to add as new modules on the company’s platform and the company's acquisition strategy.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Is it safe to assume that external attack surface management is going to be your next module?
It is. We're really excited about that. [ Reposify is] a really cool company out of Israel, great technology. What they're focused on is really automating the understanding of internet-exposed infrastructure or cloud infrastructure, where things might be misconfigured or exposed — which is a huge problem.
Can you give any sense on what modules you might look at adding after that?
We can’t really can't comment on the future [modules]. But I think if you look at the areas that we've been focused on, I'll maybe start there.
Obviously, people know us for endpoint and for cloud workload protection and visibility. We got into the identity space with Preempt — that's not an Okta competitor, it's more identity threat detection and prevention. And then we did an acquisition of SecureCircle in the data space because we do think that [data loss prevention] is a market that can be disrupted. It's kind of like the legacy [antivirus] market: [There are] not a lot of people happy with it, [it] doesn't work so great.
So it's really about putting those together and filling out more capabilities in each one of those three buckets. Obviously, we've got great capabilities, but there's always more than we can do, there's always additional companies out there [that could fit as] a module.
Do you think you would potentially do a larger acquisition at some point?
I think we evaluate deals as they come in, on a case-by-case basis. But our focus really has been smaller deals, good teams, and good technology.
In terms of the competitive landscape, I get the impression that Microsoft's E5 bundling of Defender can be pretty tempting for some customers. What are you doing to win EDR customers in light of that strategy by Microsoft?
Well I think you’ve got to start at the top, which is: There's really a crisis in trust with Microsoft for a lot of [customers]. I mean, every Tuesday is another zero-day Tuesday. So do you want your security architecture to be built by the same people who have more CVEs to their name than anyone else in the industry? Many don't.
The simple answer is, don't put all the eggs in one basket. And they want dedicated technology that is more advanced than signature-based AV. Defender, in part, is a signature-based AV product, with some other things bolted on top of it. So it starts there.
We've had many enterprise customers that looked at Microsoft, and when they looked at it, they're like, "We need five or six different consoles." They've come back and said, "We need many, many more people to run the Microsoft suite that we can't hire, and it would cost us more money than having the E5 license already in use." [CrowdStrike offers] immediate time to value, a better outcome, and lower costs. And that's what wins deals.
So the cost savings from E5 licensing is not the full story, then?
Who's going to run it? Who's going to administer it? How many consoles are you going to have? How much people-power does it take to actually run? Just do the math. Our customers have done the math, and we help them as well. We are significantly cheaper to operationalize than Microsoft. And we're going to have a better outcome.
What makes CrowdStrike so much less people-intensive?
Because we've got one console. We've got a single-agent architecture. Because of the architecture and the modular format, all built in the cloud, it doesn't require [as many people]. If you have a whole mishmash of different technologies that you bought and put together with five consoles, it's going to take a lot more effort to manage and operationalize it. We're built in the cloud. Microsoft started [as an] AV product. [CrowdStrike] is just a different architecture that is easier to use and requires less users to use it.
On at least one occasion in the past, a Microsoft executive suggested that security vendors shouldn't criticize each other because they should be working together on behalf of customers. What do you think about that idea?
Everyone wants to make sure customers are protected. But I think they should start with creating secure software. And when you look at some of these vulnerabilities, and some of the patches that have to be re-patched, and you look at just architecturally some of the decisions they've made, like with Active Directory, it's terrible. How is it that Microsoft technology is one of the only technologies that you can actually steal a password and reuse it without ever cracking it? It's just that the architecture is bad, and they have a lot of legacy decisions that still haunt customers today. That's Microsoft's fault.
Is there anything that you'd give Microsoft credit for in terms of security, or that you think was a good move on security by them?
They've done some decent acquisitions, for sure. And they've hired some good people there. But you can't just market your way out of it. You can't blame other people. And you've got to look inside and start fixing some of your own issues.
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US issues sweeping new rules on chip-tech exports to China
The Biden administration rolled out new, wide-ranging export controls on the chips and equipment U.S. companies are able to sell to China.
The Biden administration’s new controls on chip exports represent a significant shift in U.S. policy related to China.
Photo: Chen Zhonghao/Xinhua via Getty Images
October 7, 2022
Max A. Cherney is a senior reporter at Protocol covering the semiconductor industry. He has worked for Barron's magazine as a Technology Reporter, and its sister site MarketWatch. He is based in San Francisco.
October 7, 2022
The U.S. unveiled a set of new regulations Friday that aim to choke off China’s access to advanced chips, the tools necessary to manufacture years-old designs, and the service and support mechanisms needed to keep chip fabrication systems running smoothly.
On a briefing call with reporters Thursday, administration officials said the goal is to block the People’s Liberation Army and China’s domestic surveillance apparatus from gaining access to advanced computing capabilities that require the use of advanced semiconductors. The chips, tools, and software are helping China’s military, including aiding the development of weapons of mass destruction, according to the officials, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the administration’s policies freely.
The new rules are comprehensive, and cover a range of advanced semiconductor technology, from chips produced by the likes of AMD and Nvidia to the expensive, complex equipment needed to make those chips. Much of highest-quality chip manufacturing equipment is made by three U.S. companies: KLA, Applied Materials, and Lam Research, and cutting off China’s access to their tools has the potential to damage the country’s ambitions to become a chipmaking powerhouse.
“I think the whole policy of the administration can be justified by the fact that if you sell an AI chip to any entity in China for cloud server activities and that’s the alleged end use, it can also be used elsewhere and there's no way around that problem,” said Mathieu Duchâtel, director of the Asia Program at the Institut Montaigne. Years ago, China adopted a civil-military fusion doctrine that effectively enables the transfer of just about any tech in China to military uses.
The Biden administration’s new controls on chip exports represent a significant shift in U.S. policy related to China. For decades, the U.S. has attempted to keep China two generations of tech behind, typically by denying China access to the tools necessary to make advanced chips, or other technology, themselves. Now, the goal looks to be to cripple China’s ability to produce chips with technology that is nearly a decade old, several generations behind the state-of-the-art capabilities.
I think the whole policy of the administration can be justified by the fact that if you sell an AI chip to any entity in China for cloud server activities and that’s the alleged end use, it can also be used elsewhere and there's no way around that problem.
“Basically they're changing the policy we've been pursuing for the last 25 years and they are going to overtly try to degrade China's military capabilities,” William Reinsch, senior adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Protocol earlier this week.
“I think what you will hear is companies saying this is going to make it much more difficult for us to sell to China, and that’s going to affect our revenue, and it’s going to affect our future investments negatively, and make us less competitive. Maybe we’ll have a debate about that,” Reinsch said.
The new restrictions on chip exports set to go into effect Oct. 21 are:
Using a new foreign direct product rule, the U.S. will block any chips that are used in “advanced computing and artificial intelligence applications,” officials said.
The foreign direct product rule can block chips made by non-U.S. companies — including Chinese chip designers — if they use American technology or software.
The new rule could mean that TSMC would be forced to halt production on advanced AI or supercomputer chips designed by Chinese firms that are fabricated in Taiwan, for example.
Commerce will issue another new foreign direct product rule that will apply to components and chips destined for supercomputers in China.
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment rules that will go into effect Friday include:
Tools that are capable of producing logic chips made using fin field-effect transistors, or FinFETs, will be blocked from sales to China. Commonly described in industry shorthand as 14-nanometer, FinFET-based designs are years old, but continue to power the most-advanced smartphones and data center chips. Protocol first reported on the administration’s plans to control the export of these tools in August .
For memory tools, tools capable of fabricating flash storage chips with 128-layer tech or greater, and DRAM that is made with 18-nanometer half-pitch or less will both be blocked from sales to China. Officials said the standards for memory are based on current Chinese capabilities.
The new rules also restrict the servicing and maintenance of the tools, which is vital to keeping advanced equipment in good enough shape to produce working chips at high volume.
Any U.S. citizens currently servicing or supporting tools on the restricted list will have until Wednesday to halt their activity.
The U.S. will also block exports of items China could use to make its own chip manufacturing tools, such as a photolithography light source and other specialized components.
The Commerce Department is also enacting several additional measures:
Officials said that 31 Chinese entities will be added to the unverified list — a group of companies that the U.S. government believes could send tech they buy to restricted entities.
For the 28 Chinese organizations already on the U.S. Entity List , Commerce is expanding the scope of controls, including presumptively denying any licenses because of the risk that tech might be diverted to China’s military.
Officials said that the Commerce Department had made a significant effort to minimize the damage to U.S. companies, and that the policy was carefully tailored. The chip industry has 60 days to submit written comments about the new regulations, and officials said they would adjust the measures if it was appropriate based on the feedback.
The export restrictions are unilateral, and administration officials acknowledge that they will become less effective over time if other countries do not follow suit and enact similar controls.
To most corners of the chip industry, Friday’s tightened export controls were largely anticipated. For months, chip company executives in Washington, D.C., have briefed and lobbied administration officials in order to protect their businesses but also — in some cases — to use the export controls to damage or gain an advantage over rivals.
In recent months, semiconductor equipment makers such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, and KLA began to disclose that they had received notification letters from the Commerce Department over the summer. Those letters blocked the sale of tools capable of making chips with FinFETs, and prevented Nvidia and AMD from selling advanced AI chips to Chinese customers, among other measures.