The following interview and article were published by WDTV News Staff on April 14, 2022.
Morgantown, W.Va (WDTV) – A next-generation battery manufacturer is expanding to West Virginia.
Sparkz is set to build what it calls a ‘giga-factory,’ where it will produce zero-cobalt batteries.
5 News spoke exclusively with Sparkz CEO Sanjiv Malhotra, who told us the facility will bring hundreds of jobs.
“One gigawatt hour production capacity for batteries requires roughly 350 to 400 jobs,” says Malhotra, “If we are looking at multiple of those, I think we are looking at creating quite a lot of jobs in West Virginia.”
Many of those jobs are going to people who lost their jobs as miners, as Sparkz is partnering with the United Mine Workers of America.
It’s the skills those people developed in coal mines that Malhotra says makes them well-suited for battery production.
“Battery manufacturing requires a lot of safety training. The mine workers are possibly in the only industry that comes close to the kind of safety training we would be providing,” says Malhotra.
It’s been well documented that Sparkz is coming to West Virginia, with Malhotra announcing the move in Charleston earlier this year.
The big question is: where exactly? Morgantown has been rumored to be a possible landing spot. 5 News asked directly if the city was in the running.
“Look, I think we are considering the entire state, so just stay tuned. This process takes time because this process involves not only us, but it involves folks from the state,” Malhotra said.
While he wouldn’t reveal the location, Malhotra says Morgantown is an attractive option.
“I’ve been to Morgantown I believe twice now,” Malhotra said, “I really love the city, so that’s all I can say. I like Morgantown, but we have to consider a lot of other aspects of manufacturing.”
With the hiring process already underway, a location is expected to be announced soon.