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Construction Begins On TCCI EV Innovation Hub in Decatur

Wed August 16, 2023 - Midwest Edition #17
Office of Gov. Pritzker

Officials broke ground Aug. 2 on TCCI’s new electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill.
(TCCI photo)
Officials broke ground Aug. 2 on TCCI’s new electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill. (TCCI photo)
Officials broke ground Aug. 2 on TCCI’s new electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill.
(TCCI photo) Headquartered in Decatur, TCCI’s electric compressor line will produce the largest range of capacity and voltage of any compressor manufacturer in the EV automotive market.
(TCCI photo)

Gov. JB Pritzker, TCCI, Richland Community College and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) joined local leaders and partners on Aug. 2 to break ground on TCCI's new electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill. A leader in electric compressors for commercial, heavy-duty and automotive specialty markets, TCCI's EV Innovation Hub is a critical part of Illinois' growing EV ecosystem.

"Not only will this new hub support the launch of one of the first Made-In-America electric compressor manufacturing facilities, but it also will house the new Climatic Center for Innovation and Research, specifically designed to push the bounds of possibility in electric vehicles," said Pritzker. "Illinois' clean energy and electric vehicle industries are on the rise, and these investments are lifting up our talented workforce and demonstrating to the world that Illinois is once again open for business, and we're fast becoming the most promising state in the country to invest in."

Bolstered by the state of Illinois' Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois (REV Illinois) incentive package, which supports the manufacturing facility expansion, $21.3 million in capital grants also were appropriated to the city of Decatur and Richland Community College to build the first-of-its kind Climatic Center for Innovation and Research, as well as the EV + Energy Workforce Training Academy.

"This three-tiered project represents a historic investment in American manufacturing and a major step toward establishing a full EV supply chain in the United States, from supplies to talent," said TCCI President Richard Demirjian. "It's fitting that Decatur, on the same site where we have produced compressors since 1984, will now play a critical role in driving the global transportation sector toward an exciting future of electrification."

Headquartered in Decatur, TCCI's electric compressor line will produce the largest range of capacity and voltage of any compressor manufacturer in the EV automotive market. By manufacturing electric compressors locally, TCCI not only supports the growth of electrification but also will create high-wage, skilled jobs that fuel economic development in the local community.

Producing essential EV components at TCCI's Decatur location will help solidify the state's position as a manufacturing leader and expand the EV Innovation Cluster in central Illinois. Production is slated to begin by the third quarter of 2024, making it one of the first such production facilities in the United States.

"As the first recipient of the state's REV Illinois incentive package, TCCI has long been a critical partner in our efforts to grow the EV ecosystem," said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. "Together, we're investing in manufacturing, innovation and a strong workforce that will propel Illinois' clean energy economy."

"The EV Innovation Hub will be a catalyst for economic development for Central Illinois and the state of Illinois," said city of Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. "This tremendous example of collaboration between public and private partners positions the state as a leader in one of the most exciting growth industries, boosting our local economy, creating jobs and ensuring all generations are prepared for in-demand careers."

A major component of the innovation hub is building a skilled workforce. The EV + Energy Workforce Training Academy will develop a skilled workforce in the electrified transportation industry and clean energy sector by preparing students to either enter directly into high wage jobs with their Associate in Applied Science (AAS) or Associate in Science (AS) degree or by seamlessly transferring to a university through 2+2 programs and articulations agreements. Through the program, Richland Community College (RCC) will have three classrooms located within the TCCI Manufacturing facility for an immersive hands-on learning experience.

Articulation agreements have been signed between Richland Community College and the University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering; University of Illinois College of ACES; and Northern Illinois University to ensure a seamless transfer of credits for students, allowing them to pursue their educational journey in these fields without barriers. This partnership provides a clear pathway for students and promotes accessibility and affordability, making higher education more attainable for all.

Together, educational institutions in partnership with TCCI are developing specialized programs in engineering, computer science, data science, material science, advanced manufacturing, biology, chemistry and more. These programs will prepare individuals for the fields of climate technology, electric vehicle manufacturing and related energy and agriculture industries.

The Climatic Center for Innovation and Research (CCIR) is an R+D facility equipped with climatic testing capabilities specifically designed for electric vehicles. The CCIR pushes the boundaries of technology, ensuring that EVs can thrive in any environment. This 65-ft. by 25-ft. climatic chamber is equipped with a DC Fast charger to accommodate heavy-duty and oversized vehicles and observe system performance under extreme environmental conditions while charging at max input.

The chamber will have testing capabilities for solar, humidity and ambient temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees to plus 130 F. The CCIR is also positioned to have one of the only publicly available 3-axle, EPA-Certified, electric chassis dynamometers.

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