Stellantis, the parent company of Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler, has selected Kokomo, Indiana, as the site for its next electric vehicle battery factory. The plant will be built in partnership with South Korea’s Samsung SDI, a leading EV battery maker. The companies made the announcement Tuesday alongside Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and several other local officials in Kokomo.
The new facility will create 1,400 new jobs and cost $2.5 billion to construct, though Stellantis and Samsung are willing to spend up to $3 billion on the project, Mark Stewart, chief operating officer of Stellantis, said at the press conference. The cost will be split between the two companies.
Stellantis already operates a number of facilities in Kokomo, including plants for casting, transmissions, and engines. The addition of an EV battery factory will help accelerate the automaker’s push to electrify vast swaths of its lineup, the company said. Stellantis had previously announced that it will build a $4.1 billion EV battery plant, along with LG Energy Solution, in Windsor, Ontario.
Stellantis, which has been slower to embrace EVs than Ford and General Motors, has said it is targeting the sale of 5 million EVs by 2030. The company, which is the fourth-largest automaker in the world, announced a comprehensive plan last year to electrify the lineups at most of its brands, including EV versions of the Ram 1500 pickup truck and a Dodge electric muscle car as well as multiple Jeep models. Earlier this year, the company announced that Chrysler will only sell electric vehicles by 2028.
Stewart addressed the criticism that Stellantis is behind the curve on electrification during the press conference. “Sometimes people think that we’re behind, he said. ‘We are not. Today we already have 25 different [battery-electric vehicles] in the marketplace around the world.” (He later corrected that number to be 19 BEVs available globally.)
“We have two [plug-in hybrid vehicles] here in the US,” Stewart added. “So we are behind when it comes to bringing BEVs to this marketplace, but not much.”
As the auto industry slowly shifts to electrification, the need to expand battery manufacturing capacity is growing. Globally, battery production is expected to grow from 95.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2020 to 410.5 GWh in 2024, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
Stellantis’ new Kokomo plant, which is targeted to start production in 2025, will have an initial annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt hours (GWh), with an aim to increase to 33 GWh in the next few years, the company said. The company’s Windsor plant will have an annual capacity of 45 GWh.
By comparison, Ford has said its three new battery plants will enable 129 GWh a year of production capacity. General Motors is planning four new battery factories in the US (also with LG Chem) for a total annual capacity of 140 GWh, while Volkswagen is aiming to have six battery cell production plants operating in Europe by 2030 for a total of 240 GWh a year.
Source: The Verge