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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Korean-backed Atom Power plans big Mecklenburg expansion

A Huntersville company is in line to receive as much as $1.2 million in business incentives in return for expanding its headquarters, R&D and manufacturing operations.

State officials made the deal with Atom Power, which makes charging systems to support the electric-vehicle industry. The company received a $100 million investment last year from Korea’s SK, becoming its largest investor.

The 8-year-old business is pledging to create 205 jobs and invest nearly $4.2 million in its expansion. The incentives come via a Job Development Investment Grant that the state’s Economic Investment Committee approved on Tuesday.

Atom Power founder Ryan Kennedy is a 2004 UNC Charlotte electrical engineering graduate. “Since Atom Power’s founding in 2014, we’ve been committed to growing our footprint within North Carolina,” Kennedy said in a press release. “Our continued expansion in Huntersville will enable us to further tap into the rich and diverse local talent pool, while also supporting the growing demand for our unique approach to EV charging infrastructure.”

The decision made Atom’s the latest in a string of EV-related projects backed by N.C. incentives money in recent years. The largest, most high-profile are the planned VinFast auto plant in Chatham County and Toyota’ Motors’s battery plant in Randolph County.

“North Carolina leads the nation in the transition to the clean energy economy,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Electric vehicles are key to this transition and I’m pleased Atom Power is expanding in Huntersville to make critical parts for EV charging stations [that] will be located throughout North Carolina.”

State officials say the average annual salary for the new positions created at Atom will be $91,804, higher than the current average wage in Mecklenburg County, $80,349.

Because Mecklenburg is a Tier 3 county — one of the 20 best-off in the state, economically — officials will move $399,500 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund-Utility Account, which supports projects in rural areas.

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