TCCI breaks ground on EV Innovation Hub

New facility to include manufacturing, R&D, training

Decatur An artist rendering of on TCCI’s new electric vehicle Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill. (Illustration: TCCI)

TCCI has broken ground on its electric vehicle (EV) Innovation Hub in Decatur, Ill. A supplier of electric compressors for commercial, heavy-duty, and automotive specialty markets, the new facility is considered a critical part of Illinois’ growing EV ecosystem. As such, the company was joined by Richland Community College and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as well as state and local leaders.

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 were also appropriated to the City of Decatur and Richland Community College to build a Climatic Center for Innovation and Research, as well as the EV + Energy Workforce Training Academy. TCCI said the new electric compressor line is expected to produce the largest range of capacity and voltage of any compressor manufacturer in the EV automotive market. 

“This three-tiered project represents a historic investment in American manufacturing and a major step toward establishing a full EV supply chain in the U.S., 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.”

battery electric vehicles TCCI’s QPE120 electric compressor. (Photo: TCCI)

Production is slated to begin by the third quarter of 2024.

“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 significant component of the Innovation Hub is building a skilled workforce. The EV + Energy Workforce Training Academy will support the electrified transportation industry and clean energy sector by preparing students to either enter directly into 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 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. 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 a research and development facility equipped with climatic testing capabilities specifically designed for electric vehicles. The 65 ft x 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 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The CCIR is also positioned to have one of the only publicly available three-axle, EPA-Certified, electric chassis dynamometer.

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