Our Next Energy Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Celebrates a New Era for Electric Vehicles
Past the entryway of Our Next Energy’s (ONE) headquarters in Novi sit two antique electric vehicles created in the early 1900s. The two historic models are an emblem of what Mujeeb Ijaz, ONE’s CEO, envisioned when he founded the company in 2020—a celebration of Michigan’s historical automotive industry and a model for the future.
ONE recently celebrated the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of its new 659,589-square-foot gigafactory in Van Buren Township, a $1.6B investment that will bring over 2,100 jobs to the Detroit Region.
Speaking at the ceremony were leaders from across the state — Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Representative Haley Stevens, MEDC CEO and President Quentin Messer Jr., and Oakland County Executive David Coulter — many of whom celebrated Michigan’s ability to work together to draw opportunity to the state.
“These investments prove that we have everything we need to be successful here in the state of Michigan,” said Lt. Gov. Gilchrist. “We have the talented workforce to deliver the innovations of the future. We have the materials and the sites ready to be developed and be invested in. We have the spirit and the ingenuity to lead the future just like we have in the last century in the state of Michigan.”
The Detroit Regional Partnership supported ONE as it selected Southeast Michigan over several other states. This project shows how the Region is the Global Epicenter of Mobility.
Groundbreaking Battery Technology
As the ribbon was cut, the energy in the room was charged with excitement for the company’s new, cutting-edge battery technology. ONE’s dual-chemistry Gemini battery pack allows up to 600 miles of driving range while cutting down on cell cost as much as 50% thanks to the use of abundant, sustainable materials.
The Gemini cells are anode-free, veering away from standard battery materials like nickel and cobalt, which are more expensive and less sustainable. ONE’s batteries instead use a combination of lithium and manganese and a low percentage of nickel.
“These two topics, range and cost, have always been essential to an electric vehicle being successful,” Ijaz said. “We decided to use materials that would not present a hazard on safety and supply chain. And leveraging iron and manganese as our two root chemicals, we then created new technologies with abundant materials.”
Impact on the EV Ecosystem
ONE’s groundbreaking innovation will push electrification efforts forward as the U.S. races to adopt more sustainable modes of transportation. According to Fortune Business Insights, the electric vehicle market size is projected to grow to $137.34 billion by 2028. In the Detroit Region, there are already six motor vehicle assembly plants producing electric vehicles.
By using more abundant materials available at a lower cost, ONE is transforming the production of EVs in Michigan. At the ribbon cutting, Ijaz committed ONE to making its first prototype cell in the new facility by the end of 2023. In 2024, the company plans to move into full-scale production.
“2,112 jobs are good-paying jobs, the kind that you can raise a family on, and will generate more than $13 billion dollars in personal income over the next two decades,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Their product will change the way we drive and tackle the main issue that most people have with making the transition to election vehicles, which is range anxiety.”
Michigan’s Magnetic Workforce
As a pioneer in the EV ecosystem, ONE’s decision to expand in the Detroit Region was deliberate. To scale the production for ONE’s Gemini battery pack, the region’s workforce was cited as a major draw. The Detroit Region is the #1 U.S. Metro for assembly talent and vehicle parts manufacturing talent, and has the second largest concentration of engineering talent in the U.S.
“As we developed this idea of doubling the range, doing it with better materials, and localizing the supply chain, we had an urgent need also for the talent that is required to build such a large effort, and that is why we selected Michigan,” Ijaz said. “There’s no better place for us to continue that legacy of transformation than selecting this great state—and not just for our first factory, but we are a believer in a multitude of factories that will come that will take this opportunity to grow the talents and to create the ongoing legacy that has been our story since the early 1900s.”
Learn more about the exciting developments happening in the automotive and mobility sector throughout the Detroit Region.