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EV venture from world’s largest carmakers promises 203 new jobs in Durham

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A new joint venture between seven of the biggest global automakers — BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Kia and Stellantis — has picked Durham County for a $10 million headquarters that promises to hire 203 positions by the end of the decade.

Launched in February, the California-based company Ionna aims to set up at least 30,000 electric vehicle charging stations across North America. It gained regulatory approval in February and hopes to open its first station later this year.

In Durham, Ionna intends to build a research lab, a “customer experience center” and a facility to host corporate functions, CEO Seth Cutler said in a news conference Tuesday.

Cutler declined to share the precise location, but said it would be in Durham County outside of Research Triangle Park. He added that seven other satellite labs would be opened around the country.

According to state officials, Ionna would add more than 200 positions between 2025 and 2029 at a minimum average salary of $128,457.

“Economists predict this project will let North Carolina’s economy by more than $724 million over the next 12 years,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Economic incentives helped attract Ionna to the Triangle area, the company said, along with the region’s labor pool and quality of life. On Tuesday, the state Commerce Department offered Ionna a job development investment grant worth up to $3,075,000 if it meets its hiring and investment targets. An additional $800,000 in state funding was allocated for workforce training.

Durham County offered the project local incentives worth $170,000.

Ionna isn’t the first EV charging company to target Durham. In February 2022, Finnish company Kempower promised to create more than 300 jobs at a new facility in the Bull City. The company shipped its first charging station from the factory late last year.

We here in North Carolina are leading the charge for the bright clean energy future, and we know that zero emissions vehicles will be a critical part of it,” Cooper said.

“That’s where the private sector is headed,” he continued. “This company is formed by private sector companies that know where we’re going. North Carolina’s got to be on the front end of it.”

State Commerce Secretary Machelle Sanders called it an “electrifying day” and applauded the job growth Durham has seen since 2017.

“We have life-changing gene therapy treatments, semiconductors and pharm chemicals. We also have the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast, with over half a million of talent pool here,” she said.

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