Hitachi will create 60 jobs to make lithium-ion battery packs at its Mercer County plant, the company and government officials announced Monday.
The new manufacturing capability will represent a $12 million investment, according to a release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.
Hitachi, which also has a plant in Berea, just completed construction of a 153,000-square-foot factory on its existing 85-acre site in Harrodsburg.
The expansion project, announced in 2010, is creating 145 jobs in Harrodsburg and entails an investment of $68 million. The plant produces sophisticated automotive electronics.
With the expansion announced Monday, the plant also will produce the battery-control electronics, which will be installed as part of the battery-pack assembly.
"Hitachi is one of the few automotive suppliers with the capability to develop and produce our own lithium-ion batteries, electric-drive motors and the electronic controls needed to manage electric-powered automobiles," said Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas president Mark Fujisawa.
Production of lithium-ion battery packs is expected to begin at the Harrodsburg plant in 2012, with the first product shipment going out in 2013. Hitachi's plans also include the production of electric inverters for hybrid electric vehicles, which will be manufactured in its Kentucky plants.
With the support of state and local incentives, Hitachi also announced in August the establishment of its third Kentucky manufacturing facility, in Berea, where it will soon start production of motors that will power advanced, electric-powered automobiles. The Berea plant will create 130 jobs and result in a $74.5 million investment.
This is Hitachi's fourth announcement of new jobs and investment in Kentucky since 2009, when Beshear traveled to Japan to meet with Hitachi officials. Since that visit, Hitachi has announced a total of 335 new jobs and $154.5 million in investment in its two Kentucky locations.