Electrifying Future for Boone County Automotive Industries

Electrifying Future for Boone County Automotive Industries Main Photo

15 Feb 2022


The number of electric vehicles (EV) seen on the roads and highways of the U.S. increased dramatically in 2021. Consumer demand for EV has grown in recent years with more awareness of the impact of climate change. As a result, EV production and the corresponding support industries have trended upward with international automobile manufacturers.

EV are not a recent phenomenon. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EV accounted for about one-third of all vehicles in service at the turn of the twentieth century. But they fell out of favor as cheap gas and mass production of gas-powered cars gained strength. Today, EV make up less than 2% of the total vehicles operating in the U.S. But that figure is destined to grow as the impact of climate change continues, evidenced by the fact Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids comprised 7.8% of U.S. light vehicle sales in April 2021, up from a record 5.2% share in 2020, as reported by the Center for Automotive Research.

This upward trend has placed EV at the forefront of the auto industry. Accordingly, the natural progression has led to significant legislation in 2021, both nationally and within Illinois.

National Momentum

The U.S. Congress Build Back Better program includes a proposal to expand refundable tax credits up to $12,500 for individuals who purchase qualified plug-in electric vehicles. The partner bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed the Senate in August 2021 and the House in November 2021. The IIJA contains $944 billion in total spending over five years reauthorizing the national surface transportation program and provides an additional $550 billion over baseline funding for traditional infrastructure, including $7.5 billion for building EV charging infrastructure and $9.5 billion for hydrogen R&D and demonstration programs.

Illinois Support

As part of Growth Dimensions' ongoing efforts to increase Boone County and Illinois' competitive advantage, we are encouraged by the strides that are happening at the State level to attract and retain manufacturing and other businesses. Illinois has established itself as a top destination for EV manufacturing in the country and that trend continued in 2021. The Illinois General Assembly approved the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois (REV) tax credit program in October with near-unanimous support. It passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 55-0 and then the Illinois House by a 110-2 vote.

REV Illinois intends to put one million EV on the road by 2030. It is intended to create new capacity through competitive incentives to expand in or relocate to Illinois for companies involved in the EV industry, from vehicle production and charging station infrastructure to component parts production such as batteries, cathodes and anodes.

In an October 29, 2021 press release, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said, "With the passage of the REV Act, Illinois is making clear that it intends to be a leading state in the burgeoning electric vehicle manufacturing industry. As a leader in clean energy and as a global transportation hub, Illinois is an ideal home for this important climate-friendly industry.”

Businesses interested in the REV Illinois incentives must commit to local job creation and capital investment. Businesses will be divided into two categories. Tier I companies include EV manufacturers, component part manufacturers and power supply equipment manufacturers intended to invest more than $20 million and create more than 50 new jobs in four years. Tier II companies will be involved in much larger capital investment and job creation projects.

Boone County Involvement

Boone County businesses have been intimately involved with the automobile industry for years and are positioned to be significant players in the EV markets going forward. 

“This bill will identify concerns that we’ve had, and maybe address those concerns to help lower some of the cost to produce vehicles, help encourage investment as far as infrastructure, and other investments as referring to electric vehicles, and also put some money into training,” added Pamela Lopez-Fettes, the Executive Director of Growth Dimensions Economic Development.

Boone County has a lengthy list of existing companies currently in the EV industry including:

Android Industries - Belvidere LLC is an industry leader in assembly and supply chain solutions.

Belvidere Brose, Inc. is one of Brose’s twelve North American facilities, the world’s fourth-largest family-owned automotive supplier. Belvidere Brose has been an automobile door system supplier for Stellantis since 2017.

Cassens Transport Company has offered logistics services for the automotive industry since 1933. 

Magna Exteriors creates blow-molded exteriors for the automotive industry. 

Belvidere is home to a Piston Automotive Facility of the Piston Group in Belvidere. It is one of 20 North American locations that ranks the Piston Group as the world’s largest value-added assembly supplier. 

As the world's largest supplier of automotive interior components, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors opened a new Belvidere plant in 2017.

National and regional support will progress the significance of EV production and their support industries, bringing exciting momentum to Boone County manufacturing. Growth Dimensions Economic Development is proud to support the businesses involved in this arena. Please contact us with any questions about assistance by emailing or calling (815) 547-4252.