Samsung SDI directors approve $2 billion new US gigafactory
South Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI announced Wednesday its board of directors approved a KRW 2.7 trillion ($1.99 billion) investment plan to build a new battery gigafactory in the US.
The investment, disclosed in a South Korean securities filing seen by Kallanish, relates to plans for a second battery plant built by StarPlus Energy, the joint venture between Samsung SDI and automaker Stellantis. The project was first announced in July.
The gigafactory will have a 34 gigawatt-hour annual production capacity. Samsung SDI will maintain a 51% stake in the new factory, which is expected to begin production in 2027. Construction is slated to start in April 2024.
While the location of the plant is yet to be decided, there is speculation that it will be built near the JV’s first gigafactory in Kokomo, Indiana, which is planned to open in 2025. Once operational, the plants will have an expected combined production capacity of 67 GWh per year.
Taking advantage of the growing EV market in North America and the intensified calls for localised supply chains, Samsung SDI is also planning to expand its manufacturing facilities in Michigan. According to the state’s business development agency, the company “is looking to double its manufacturing capacity to meet customer needs in the automotive sector and plans to expand its two Auburn Hills facilities, where it will make production line expansions.”
“Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Indiana or other states in the Midwest due to the company’s existing presence and talent base in the state,” the agency said, while announcing a $5 million performance-based grant to the project.
It is unclear whether this is an indication that the new gigafactory with Stellantis would be based in Michigan.
Stellantis, which is currently at the centre stage of ongoing union strikes in the US, has declined to comment. Yet, the confirmation of the investment by its JV partner delivers supply security to meet its electrification plans in North America. The European carmaker plans for 50% of its sales in the US to be battery electric vehicles by decade-end.
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