LATHROP LANDS TESLA MEGA BATTERY PLANT

When Tesla announced that Lathrop would be the site of a plant that manufactures parts for the company’s electric cars in Fremont back in 2014, nobody thought that it would be the beginning of a growing relationship between one of the world’s most closely-followed companies and the growing city. But on Monday the company officially broke ground on a project that will repurpose what was previously a J.C. Penney distribution center for a manufacturing facility for an entirely new product – a massive, trailer-sized battery that will be used not for cars or homes, but to store excess power from the power grid and funnel that power back when it is needed most.

For Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, the announcement of the manufacturing facility for the Megapack – billed by the company as the largest, densest storage battery in the world – is another feather in the cap for the city. “Lathrop is proud to be the home of the Megafactory, Tesla’s most recent expansion here,” Dhaliwal said. “The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community. “This development means more opportunities for our residents, and a brighter future for our planet.” While the company – known the world over for its electric vehicles – has been in the home power storage space for some time, the Megapack will be different because of the unique role that it will play in promoting a greener world by improving power efficiency.

The storage system aims to “transform the way that utilities manage the power grid” by providing “emissions-free” energy when providers need it most – eliminating the need for traditional fossil fuel power plants that are commonly used to supplement shortages. While the delivery of electricity has become more efficient, the distribution of power across long distances often leads to overall loss – especially since traditional grids don’t have any place for excess power that isn’t needed to be stored. The Megapack solves this problem by allowing energy providers with the chance to store that excess power and send it back into the grid as it is needed – something that the company already does with its home-focused battery system that allows for excess power generated by solar panels to be stored and saved.

The facility in Lathrop will assemble and distribute the Megapack units around to locations around the world – including those that are utilized here in California – and will include over-the-air updates to the operating software for the units to maximize efficiency and continuously improve performance. The announcement in 2014 that Tesla would take over the shuttered Mopar distribution facility along I-5 made headlines around the country as the Silicon Valley company expanded its footprint beyond Fremont where it assembles most of its electric cars. But that was just the beginning for the growing South County city and one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

Tesla has since expanded its initial building’s footprint, and added other space including an 870,000 square foot distribution center behind the old Pilkington glass plant on Louise Avenue. A company that manufactures parts that are used in Tesla vehicles also opened a facility in Lathrop near the original Tesla building to help provide parts that are used in the manufacturing process. And for a time, Lathrop also housed thousands of Tesla vehicles that had been assembled in Fremont and were awaiting shipment to their final destination – renting space at the old Pilkington facility to temporarily stage the vehicles that were dropped off and hauled away by trailer.

According to Bloomberg News, the news that Tesla was expanding its operations in California was a welcome sign for the state after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, slammed the state’s shutdown efforts early during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently moved to Texas – which is now where the company plans to assemble the Model Y and Cybertruck vehicles. The move to build the Megapack in Lathrop, Bloomberg said, was seen as a sign that California remains a part of the company’s future.

https://www.mantecabulletin.com/news/local-news/lathrop-lands-tesla-mega-battery-plant/

Faraday Future Expands Global Hiring After Business Combination

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced plans to increase its employee headcount significantly over the next 12 months following the Business combination closing in July of this year. New hiring will help support the launch of its ultimate intelligent techluxury all electric flagship vehicle FF 91 in 2022.

“We are looking forward to adding a diverse group of innovative, creative and driven people to our rapidly growing team,” said Global CEO of Faraday Future Carsten Breitfeld. “We now have the capability to significantly grow our company with employees passionate about transforming the auto industry and the future of mobility. For the right candidates, an immense amount of opportunity abounds. I welcome talented and passionate applicants who are motivated to help move the company forward together along with the entire FF team.”

Hiring efforts will focus on filling positions in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, supply chain, design, marketing, brand, sales and other areas, along with the potential of higher-level executive positions. These positions are located out of the company’s three California locations including at FF’s headquarters in Los Angeles, tech-focused offices in Silicon Valley, and the FF 91 manufacturing facility in Hanford. FF will soon announce several key operational-focused executives who are expected to join FF soon. FF is also hiring key-positions for its China operations as it gears up to deliver FF vehicles in that market.

https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/business/faraday-future-expands-global-hiring-after-business-combination/article_595be0c7-bbfb-5ab0-a151-a160fd7f5d0e.html

Faraday Future’s Ultimate Intelligent Techluxury FF 91 Validates Production Timeline

Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent mobility ecosystem company, today announced that it recently completed a 2,270-mile testing and evaluation journey following the historic Route 66, a highway that crosses numerous U.S. states as it winds its way from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.

Real world vehicle testing and evaluation, which followed FF’s public listing on Nasdaq last month in NYC, put the ultimate intelligent techluxury FF 91 through multiple tests in various conditions including extreme heat through the desert and on multiple road surfaces including various elevations. The completion of this testing and evaluation of the many vehicle systems, including battery and propulsion components during the 2,270-mile journey further validates FF 91 production timeline.

“This testing journey along historic Route 66 allowed us to put FF 91 through many diverse environments and conditions found only in the central and southwest portions of the U.S. and allowed us to capture real world data on FF 91,” said FF Global CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld. “FF’s overall testing and validation strategy will ensure best-in-market performance, safety and user confidence, and to make sure the battery, electric propulsion, chassis, suspension and other vehicle systems perform under these harsh conditions, while also ensuring a smooth and comfortable and connected experience with the driver and passengers in the FF 91.”

The long-distance road test that FF conducted is a great opportunity to evaluate FF’s unique third internet living space concept in real usage scenarios before it begins production next year. Dr. Breitfeld, an engineer by trade, had an integral part of the Route 66 testing and drove much of the trip, he also used the rear intelligent internet system and in-car video conference system from the rear-seat to participate in daily FF meetings along the way.

FF 91 is equipped with interior cameras and microphones that support videoconferencing features. When the Rear Seat Display (RSD) is turned on, users can access their contacts through conferencing applications to keep connected with friends, family, or business associates while on the road. The applications will run natively on the in-vehicle computer and be mirrored to the users’ mobile devices for remote control.

During vehicle testing, engineers logged volumes of data on the vehicle’s chassis, thermal, electric propulsion performance, and all vehicle systems. They also optimized software controls performance and calibrations in real world conditions. This critical work is providing some of the final levels of development on FF 91’s systems, as FF advances to the final stages of its program and a timely launch. In the coming months, FF will build additional pre-production FF 91 vehicles for further testing, vehicle development, improvements, and final readiness for launch in 2022.

The FF 91 Futurist Alliance Edition and FF 91 Futurist models represent the next generation of intelligent internet electric vehicle (EV) products. They are high-performance EVs, all-ability cars, and ultimate robotic vehicles, allowing users to experience the third internet living space. The models also encompass extreme technology, an ultimate user experience and a complete ecosystem.

Both models have an industry-leading 1050 horsepower, a 130kWh battery pack with immersive liquid cooling technology and 0-60 mph performance in 2.4 seconds. In addition, both employ tri-motor torque vectoring and rear wheels independently driven and controlled by dual rear motors. Both models are also equipped with the industry‘s only super AP for internet connection at “light speed”, video streaming on the passenger information display, a rear intelligent internet system, an in-car video conferencing system, intelligent seamless entry, FFID face recognition, multi-touch eyes-free control, and zero gravity rear seats with the industry’s largest seating angle of 150 degrees.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/faraday-future-ultimate-intelligent-techluxury-020200076.html

New industrial building planned in north Modesto could employ hundreds of workers

A new development proposes a 300,000-square-foot industrial building that could employ hundreds of people on Kiernan Avenue north of Modesto. The building, designed for light industry, is planned for the southeast corner of Tully Road and Kiernan. It will replace an almond orchard on the 17-acre site. Jackrabbit Equipment Inc., which makes equipment for the tree nut industry, has been discussed as a main tenant for the Kiernan facility. The company would use the building for consolidating Jackrabbit’s operations in Ripon and on Dakota Avenue in Modesto. Chief Executive Officer Bob DeMont said Thursday that 90 employees would work at the new building initially, but the number could grow substantially as the company expands.

The Stanislaus County planning commission considered the project earlier this month and recommended that county supervisors approve it. The project is set for the Board of Supervisors meeting Aug. 17. According to a county staff report, Jackrabbit is expected to use half the facility, or 150,000 square feet. Libitzky Holdings of Emeryville, the applicant and developer, has not identified tenants for the other 150,000 square feet. “We would love to be able to accommodate Jackrabbit,” said Kevin Perkins, an associate principal for Libitzky, a real estate investment firm that owns properties in eight states. “We are building 300,000 square feet of Class A space that should be highly in demand,” Perkins said. “Modesto is in a real growth market and the location lends itself to being a prime industrial and distribution location for the state and western United States.”

Libitzky operates the Modesto Industrial Park, which is next door to the Kiernan and Tully property. The new cross-dock building could be built and completed by the second quarter of 2022, Perkins said. According to the plans, businesses leasing space could operate around the clock, seven days a week, three shifts per day, with up to 250 workers on each shift. That estimate includes other prospective operations in addition to Jackrabbit. County staff said Jackrabbit could occupy a larger portion or the entire building, but that has not been determined. The site is designed with 486 parking spaces; an excess amount of parking was included in the plans for flexibility as business tenants are sought.

Companies using the industrial building are expected to serve about 25 customers daily. The center will generate an estimated 1,488 truck and car trips per day. Libitzky applied to the county for approval because the site is in an unincorporated area outside the city limits. Modesto’s general plan designates the project location for business park development. For significant development projects inside a city’s sphere of influence, the county has a policy of first getting preliminary approval from the respective city. The county may approve the project after the city signs off.

Steve Mitchell, planning manager for Modesto, said the city has been in discussions with the county and supported the application because it’s an expansion of an industrial area. There are too many private properties between the city boundary and the Kiernan site for an annexation, he said. One of the city’s conditions for approval was extension of a line to the property and connection to city water service, but a sewer service connection is not available, Mitchell said. “We are working with the county on a tax-sharing agreement,” he added.

https://www.modbee.com/news/local/article252937118.html

Japanese ag firm settling into new Valley residence

With spring also blooms a company that has taken root in the Central Valley in recent years. Manda Fermentation USA Inc., the US brand of Manda Fermentation Co., Ltd., a Japanese organic food manufacturer founded in 1987, has expanded its presence in the San Joaquin Valley since it first made connections with the state of Fresno in 2019.

Through a series of business launches, Manda leaders were made aware of the valley’s agricultural wealth and potential. While things started with research and development – attempts to figure out how mandas products can aid in harvesting and harvesting – the company has since expanded into growing a variety of crops in the Central Valley for markets across the nation and arrive around the world. It participates in community test gardens, brings its products to more local stores, and joins the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

Clay Gilpin, market development manager at Manda USA, said the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed some of the company’s planned outreach activities, but there was a positive trend that emerged during the lockdowns. According to an analysis of the monthly U.S. retail census report from Breck’s, an online Dutch flower and garden store, the gardening industry saw sales surge despite the pandemic. Building materials and garden retail sales increased 8.6% between spring 2019 and spring 2020. “We made gardening a very popular hobby because people stayed at home – that ties in with the trend of people growing their own food and wanting to know where the food is coming from,” said Gilpin.

Manda USA sees new demographics as they target different customers. Manda has its fertilizer product Manda Harvest in local stores, including Alert-O-Lite’s new garden section, a True Value and a central fish market. Central Fish may be shipping mandas fermented food supplements in the future. Currently, Manda USA sells its larger fertilizer products direct to farmers for local use in almonds, blueberries and citrus fruits. It will also be used for olives in the near future.

In areas outside the Central Valley, Manda works with rice, walnuts, canola, corn and cannabis, among other things. Cannabis responded very well to Manda’s fertilizer products and produced larger buds on the plant. Gilpin said the company hopes to get involved as cannabis cultivation increases in our area. Manda has also tested its products at Community Life Garden, an organic community garden in Reedley. Manda has several test fields that demonstrate the effects of Manda Harvest on crops such as potatoes, onions, zucchini and radishes. The fertilizer is free to farmers who wish to use it for their crops, and most of the food grown in the garden is donated to a faith-based food bank.

Gilpin said the company is trying to keep in touch with the Ag community and beyond, which is why joining the Fresno County Farm Bureau has served as a valuable resource. “Your publications are very helpful in giving us an insight into what is going on in the marketplace, especially here in Fresno County,” said Gilpin. “It’s a way to create press releases and talk to the community. After all, we want to advertise in these publications because they reach our target market – farmers who grow organically. “

Plans to build a facility in the Central Valley, possibly for an administration office, have been postponed due to Covid-19, but Gilpin said the company is still open to a number of possible partnerships and locations elsewhere. There are visions of creating a kind of hub at the farmers’ market with other companies to join Manda’s local efforts. Gilpin said Manda USA is trying to provide the resources to grow better food while making more money in the process. “I can imagine that this will also happen in Fresno if we find the right partners and the right location,” said Gilpin. “Given our mission and the nature of our business, we would likely try revitalizing an older building and building it in an area like downtown Fresno or the Tower District to implement those ideas.”

https://thebuildersnews.com/japanese-ag-firm-settling-into-new-valley-residence/

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AIM TO EXPAND MANUFACTURING WORKFORCE

In recent years higher-education institutions in Fresno have attempted to evolve and expand to meet the demands of the Central Valley manufacturing industry. According to the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, the industry employs more than 100,000 residents of the Central Valley and accounts for $15 billion of the area’s gross domestic product.

Over the last decade, educational programs have made great strides to partner with the industry to create the kind of employees they need, said Mike Betts, CEO of the Betts Company in Fresno. “The level of collaboration, cooperation and trusting relationships that have been built in this community over the last 5-10 years is off the charts,” Betts said. “It keeps building on itself to where we are doing remarkable things, it’s a community effort.”

One significant advance was the integration of dual credits for high school manufacturing programs at Fresno City College, said Robert Pimentel, FCC vice president of Educational Services and Institutional Effectiveness. Before late 2015, FCC couldn’t offer dual enrollment to high school students because California state law required any course the college offered must be open to the public. High schools didn’t want their campus to be open to any member of the public in order to offer the courses, Pimentel said.

In October 2015 Assembly Bill 288 changed those rules, and instead of requiring students to spend a semester testing out of courses they took in high school, FCC could offer their courses with college credit for the high school students exclusively. This change allows students to work towards an associates degree in high school and offers students a chance to take college courses for free, Pimentel said. The change also allowed companies to partner more closely in ensuring workers with the skills they need are able to access the right education from a young age, Betts said. “We try to offer a pathway between high school and university, or into the industry,” Pimentel said. “We are using that pathway to close equity gaps for students.”

Educational programs aim to expand manufacturing workforce – The Business Journal

THREE VALLEY MANUFACTURERS EARN ENERGY STAR CERTIFICATION

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced 95 manufacturing plants nationwide earned Energy Star certification in 2020 for being the most energy-efficient in their industries, and three of those companies are from the Central Valley.

Vitro Architectural Glass in Fresno, J.R. Simplot Company in Helm in Fresno County, and Ardagh Glass in Madera have been awarded the distinction.

By managing their energy usage strategically during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Energy Star Certified plants saved nearly $400 million on energy bills, which is equal to the payroll value of over 8,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs.

“EPA commends our partners here in California for their leadership in advancing energy and cost saving improvements,” said EPA’s Air & Radiation Division Director for the Pacific Southwest region Elizabeth Adams. “Their commitment to energy efficiency not only protects the environment, it is a smart business decision that supports the bottom line.”

Beginning in 2006, the Energy Star Industrial program has annually certified manufacturing plants in the U.S. for operating within the top 25% of energy performance in their industry nationwide.

Since the first manufacturers received their certification from the program 15 years ago, the plants have realized more than $6 billion in savings on energy bills.

Other California companies that received certification for their performance in 2020 include Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. in Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, and San Diego, and Flowers Baking Co. in Modesto.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/three-valley-manufacturers-earn-energy-star-certification/?mc_cid=467bb44e45&mc_eid=54995b94ba

Riverbank made bold plans for old Army ammo plant

Twelve years after the Army stopped making ammunition in Riverbank, the vast plant is only partway toward its potential for new jobs. But that could improve soon, local officials said during a tour Thursday for Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock. They envision about 2,000 people working for various tenants, up from about 650 now, with an emphasis on green industries.

Harder heard about how long it is taking for state and federal agencies to ensure that contaminated portions of the site are cleaned up. It stretches across 173 acres at Claus and Claribel roads, with about 150 buildings and plenty of open land. Harder earlier helped a company navigate federal rules regarding foreign investment in a venture that would make vehicle fuel from nut shells and orchard wood waste. Aemetis plans to employ about 50 people on the Riverbank site and said contract truckers would add perhaps 1,000 more jobs. “There’s a lot of unique things about this site,” Harder said. “It’s already prebuilt for manufacturing opportunities.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/business/article249252650.html

Energy Recovery Commissions New Production Facility

Energy Recovery, Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) today announced that manufacturing of PX® Pressure Exchangers® (“PX“) has begun in its newest production facility in Tracy, California. The opening of the 54,000 square foot facility marks the completion of a comprehensive manufacturing capacity increase plan that, combined with process optimization and additional equipment procurement, has more than doubled the Company’s output of PX ceramic components in just under two years. “We expect revenue growth of up to 25% this year in our Water segment, and the opening of our Tracy facility gives us confidence in fulfilling our strong backlog of orders while creating critical redundancy of our manufactured components,” said Robert Mao, Energy Recovery Chairman of the Board and President and Chief Executive Officer. “We were able to progress quickly, ensuring this facility was capable of operations while taking the necessary safety precautions against the spread of COVID-19.”

The city of Tracy is located 47 miles east of Energy Recovery’s headquarters in San Leandro, California. The close proximity of the two facilities allows for better integration and collaboration within the manufacturing process, helping to ensure consistent product quality across all production locations. Tracy was selected as a location due to its diverse pool of skilled labor, location in a low-risk seismic zone, independent power grid and access to key transportation access points. “Thanks to our strong relationships and market insight, we were able to accurately forecast the rapid growth of desalination we are seeing today and implement strategic capacity expansions. The Tracy facility has flexibility for further capacity additions in the future as required and positions us continuing reliably serving our customers’ growing businesses,” said Emily Smith, Energy Recovery’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Operations.

http://www.energyrecovery.com/media/energy-recovery-commissions-new-production-facility/

Record-breaking demand for warehouse and DC development

Unlike many other segments of the economy, warehouse and distribution center (DC) development is not only withstanding the widespread economic impact of COVID-19, it’s thriving. In fact: It’s red hot. Companies can’t find space fast enough and developers can’t build DCs quickly enough to meet demand. “The market is thriving, and with it, record high transaction volume (new leases, user sales and renewals), record high rents, a vacancy of 4.7%, and 42 consecutive quarters of positive absorption,” reports James Breeze, senior director, global head of Industrial & Logistics Research for CBRE.

Robust demand for industrial product has kept developers busy. “At the end of the third quarter of 2020, more than 312 million square feet was under construction [nationwide] and 37% of this was already preleased—the highest rate of pre-leasing in over a year,” Breeze exclaims. Other noteworthy trends include climbing rents, annual absorption inching close to the 200-million-square-foot benchmark, and record-high deliveries, reports Mehta Randhawa, director of U.S. Industrial Research, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL).

As stay-at-home orders lifted, construction activity resumed, and deliveries spiked. Consequently, JLL data indicates that delivery of industrial space hit a record high in the third quarter of 2020, with completions totaling 97.4 million square feet. When all totaled, JLL expects that figure to hit 107.0 million square feet for 2020. “We have seen a speed associated with innovation that was never known to us before COVID,” remarks Matt Powers, executive vice president, JLL. “Supply chain models are being transformed in days instead of months or years.”

Driving this robust development surge is widespread adoption of e-commerce, accentuated by COVID-19. “Most consumers are not only buying more product online; they are expecting it to be delivered in a timely manner,” says Breeze. Consequently, developers are seeing upwards of five years of e-commerce growth in one year—a trend, they say, that’s not going away, Further, companies are looking to carry higher inventory levels given that many incurred lost revenues by not having the inventory to meet demand. “Beyond carrying higher inventory levels to favor resiliency over efficiency in their supply chains, companies are also considering more diversified manufacturing locations,” says Carter Andrus, president of Central Region at real estate investment trust company Prologis. “In some cases, companies have become too efficient without having some buffer or just-in-case stock for events that happen.”

Andrus observes that these two trends have the potential to generate more than 500 million square feet of additional warehouse and DC space in the next two to three years. “This is overwhelming,” he says. “In terms of facility size, we see good momentum in all size categories, although activity has been best above 100,000 square feet with pronounced strength in the big box spectrum, with that being greater than 250,000 square feet.” Earlier in 2020, Prologis saw some softness in spaces below 100,000 square feet, but now market demand for this space is also improving. All of these factors continue to shift supply chain strategies to increase distribution centers throughout the country whether it’s a company shipping directly to the consumer, or the supplier to that company.

According to the seasonally adjusted date from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. consumers spent an estimate $209.5 billion online in the third quarter of 2020. That’s a whopping increase of 36.7% from the same period in 2019 when e-commerce sales made up 11.2% of total sales. Two of the biggest players in the retail world are Amazon and Walmart. Last year, Amazon was said to have over 100 fulfilment centers alone. The company typically builds fulfillment centers to feed regional sort centers as well as DCs, also known as delivery stations. Its fulfillment centers are typically 1 million-square-feet or more.

Walmart, known for running one of the largest distribution operations in the world, has over 190 DCs with more than 143 million square feet, according to global supply chain, logistics and distribution consulting firm MWPVL International Inc. “Market drivers include population growth and competition shortening the last-mile with same- or next-day delivery,” states Powers.

Robert Van Geons, president and CEO Of Fayetteville Economic Development Corp., who promotes activity in his region of North Carolina, observes how onshoring of manufacturing, increased e-commerce and drastically altered consumer demand cycles have significantly increased the demand for warehouses and DC space. “While new product is under construction, it’s nearly impossible to find a large [250,000 square feet+] quality building available between Washington, D.C. and Savanah,” Van Geons reports. “If it has good ceiling height and is close to a major interstate, it is off the market.”

https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/record_breaking_demand_for_warehouse_and_dc_development/warehouse