‘Game changer:’ Edgecombe County woos electric car battery maker, over 1,000 jobs

ROCKY MOUNT – More than a thousand new jobs are on the way for the county with the highest unemployment rate in our region.

For years, this site was supposed to be the biggest investment in rural North Carolina history, but the U.S.-China trade war ended the Triangle Tire deal. Local leaders now say the project that replaces it could be even bigger.

Less than 24 hours after announcing that Triangle Tire had terminated a tire factory project, Edgecombe County Economic Developers announced that the site would likely become an electric car battery manufacturing plant, bringing with it more than 1,000 jobs and potentially billions in investments.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership leader Norris Tolson says they are overwhelmed with interest in the Kingsboro Megasite between Rocky Mount and Tarboro. Six companies are currently studying the site, with a total potential investment of $17 billion.

“The first people who contacted us on this site said, ‘I’m ready to build last week, not next week,'” Tolson said.

After Toyota announced plans to build a battery plant in Randolph County, Edgecombe County immediately heard from companies looking to follow their lead.

“We think we’ll get one of these projects because North Carolina is struggling with megasites right now to meet the need for all these big battery projects,” Tolson said.

Since this site is already ready for construction, he is confident that the next generation of car batteries will be built in Edgecombe County.

“So the fact that it’s ready to run, literally ready to be built, indicates that it’s a prime target. So I think we will have a major project there before the end of the year,” he said.

According to Tolson, the most likely scenario is that one or two of the six companies decide to build in Edgecombe County. That would still mean a big investment at the Kingsboro CSX Select Megasite.

The county is not yet ready to name companies interested in the site, saying they are still working under codenames until a final decision is made.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership had been seeking tenants for the site for about a month, since Triangle Tire had notified them that they could do so.

“It would be a game-changer for Edgecombe County,” Tolson told WRAL News.