BATTLE CREEK, MI - Toda America on Tuesday, April 20, began construction on its $70 million plant designed to manufacture cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. The facility will sell chemical components for the advanced battery cells that power electric-drive vehicles.

Customers of the plant, now being built in Battle Creek's Fort Custer Industrial Park, are expected to include operations under development in Holland, Muskegon and in eastern Michigan. The Toda plant will provide materials to LG Chem in Holland that will be used in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle. 

During a plant groundbreaking ceremony, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was on hand to underscore the role that alternative automotive energy systems will play in Michigan's future economy. 

Toda America Inc. is a subsidiary of Toda Kogyo Corp. in Japan. Toda America drew a $35 million award contract from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the plant. The DOE funding came from the Recovery Act's Electric Device Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.