April 20, 2024

Stellantis And Samsung SDI Announce Plans For 2nd Joint Venture Battery Factory

While Stellantis’ commitment to make 50% of its sales in North America battery electric by the end of the decade was dubious in some quarters, the company’s latest announcement appears to bolster the plan. Stellantis and Samsung SDI in South Korea announced plans for a second joint venture cell manufacturing plant in North America and an expansion of another plant already under construction.

In May 2022, Samsung and Stellantis announced plans for a joint venture cell factory in Kokomo, Indiana with a capacity of 23 GWh per year. The capacity of that facility has now increased by 43% to 33 GWh per year. In addition, the two companies have now announced plans for another plant with a capacity of 34 GWh with production aimed at early 2027. No site has been announced for the new factory although there is an opportunity somewhere in the southern US or Mexico through the company’s assembly plant to supply there.

This is the third cell plant for each company. Stellantis also has a joint venture with LG Energy Systems with a 45 GWh plant currently under construction in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Stellantis has two Ontario vehicle assembly plants in Brampton (near Toronto) and Windsor, each of which is expected to begin production of electric vehicles after 2024. Stellantis also has several other assembly plants in the Detroit area, just across the river from Windsor, along with the Toledo, Ohio plant that produces the Jeep Wrangler. It is likely that some or all of these plants will contribute to EV production in the coming years.

The other Samsung plant is a joint venture with General Motors. GM has three other JV plants with LG Energy Systems, but it has shelved plans for some time and instead opted to partner with Samsung.

This makes 10 joint venture cell plants between Detroit-area automakers and South Korean cell suppliers LG, SK On and Samsung SDI. In addition Hyundai Motor Group is building two more factories in Georgia with LG and SK On. In total plans have now been announced for 31 EV cell manufacturing plants in North America in early 2027 with a total capacity of nearly 900 GWh.

The challenge for all these factories in the coming years will be to get them all up and running smoothly and to supply them with a steady flow of the necessary raw materials, which are by no means guaranteed. GM has had a tough time ramping up its first LG joint venture plant in Lordstown, Ohio since it started production last fall and has had to stop or limit production of several models including the Brightdrop Zevo 600 delivery van, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq. All of these plants will face significant challenges, but if the various companies can produce a steady supply of cells, they will at least be in a good position to meet their EV production goals this decade.

Then all they have to do is convince consumers to buy them.

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