Ohio has an established automotive industry that is embracing the accelerated move towards electric vehicle (EV) production and usage, with the state now emerging as a US hub for manufacturing in the sector.

Ohio attracting workers as EV operations expand 

When it comes to EV operations, attracting a skilled workforce is critical, and locating in a city in which it is desirable to live can be key.

According to a report by real estate research company Relocate America, Columbus is one of the primary markets for growth in residential property sales.  

This property market growth highlights that Ohio is attracting more people and expanding the existing workforce, an important factor for companies or individuals weighing up the viability of setting up an EV manufacturing plant in Ohio.  

As the US continues to offer even more opportunities for setting up EV operations, the fiscal incentives and other regional considerations play a major role in selecting a business location.  

Official industry figures state that by 2022 about 76% of the US population own and regularly use a car, with increasing numbers considering the benefits of an electric vehicle, even if the growth of sales is not exponential at present.  

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With the federal government unveiling plans to create a US-wide infrastructure for the increased production and use of electric vehicles and lower greenhouse gas emissions, Ohio is emerging as a state ready to play a major role in EV vehicle manufacturing.  

Rise in EV demand creates opportunities for sector investment  

In terms of fiscal performance, the automotive industry in Ohio, and across the US, continues to maintain a healthy position.  

In early 2023, General Motors announced a $918 million investment in its US manufacturing sites.

A significant portion of that money has been committed to their existing Ohio facility, largely to support the manufacturing of castings and components needed for EV production lines.

About $1.5trn in revenue is generated from road vehicle and parts retail trade per annum, and the EV market is beginning to represent a more significant part of this.  

Brendan Kelly is the director of Drive Electric Ohio, an organisation created and designed to accelerate the production and adoption of EVs.  

He highlights that the automotive industry is thriving, and demand is creating new opportunities in Ohio when considering the best place to set up an EV manufacturing plant. 

“Auto manufacturing jobs are a cornerstone of our economy now,” says Kelly. “They’re very important for basically every part of Ohio because the supply chain is spread throughout the state. If we’re going to still have a robust auto industry in Ohio, we need to be welcoming electric vehicles.”   

As Ohio continues to establish itself as a US hub for the automotive industry, cities including capital Columbus, Cleveland and Drayton offer attractive economic reasons for setting up a business in this sector. 

So where is the best place to set up an EV manufacturing plant in Ohio?

Columbus is the state capital and a major driver of the Ohio economy. With a population of about 900,000 and a highly skilled workforce across the automotive workforce industry, it has a high-performing and diverse economy. 

One major market pointer when it comes to looking for the best place to set up an EV manufacturing plant is establishing where sector leaders are operating.  

In a sign of the EV manufacturing market strength in Ohio, 2022 saw Honda announce two major investments to its operations just outside Columbus.  

The company’s $700m investment is allocated to upgrading several of Honda’s existing auto and powertrain plants. The total investment is earmarked specifically to enhance and expand the existing production capacity of EVs.  

In addition, and further showcasing Columbus and Ohio as hubs for EV manufacturing, they have announced a further $3.5bn project in collaboration with LG Energy Solution.  

With this drive to produce battery modules to power electric cars, the landscape for this industry in Ohio is propitious, with demand growing and creating further opportunities for new business.  

Cleveland emerging as EV manufacturing hub and business-friendly city

With a GDP of about $135bn in 2019, Cleveland is one of the economic hubs of Ohio.  

Indeed, identifying the best place to set up an EV manufacturing plant in Ohio often leads companies to consider the city.  

It has played a major role in the rapid and revolutionary rise of the automotive industry since the 1890s and continues to be part of that in both traditional and EV manufacturing operations.  

Its vibrant and diverse economy is framed within a friendly environment for start-ups, with various tax incentives available for new enterprises and growing support for EV operations and production.   

In addition to its strong automotive industry links, Cleveland offers those looking to set up an EV manufacturing plan an existing sector infrastructure alongside a highly skilled automotive-based workforce.  

Tax incentives drawing new EV manufacturing business 

Perhaps most importantly, the state government has introduced a wide range of business-encouraging financial incentives designed to attract and nurture new operations in Cleveland and Ohio.  

The Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit Scheme provides the opportunity for business owners, and new business start-ups, to obtain a refundable tax credit against their commercial activity tax, insurance premium tax, Ohio corporate franchise tax and employee’s individual personal income taxes.

The city of Cleveland’s Department of Public Utilities is also highlighting its commitment to the EV sector by committing to the installation of EV charging stations as part of its transition to an all-electric vehicle fleet.  

With tax incentives for start-ups, government support for the industry, and a growing sector presence across Ohio, Cleveland has emerged as an attractive option when searching for the best place to set up an EV manufacturing plant in the US.  

Information, Data, and Statistics from Statistica, Globalisation and World Cities Research Network, Ohio Chamber of Industry and Commerce, US Census Bureau, Drive Electric Ohio.