Stellantis announces second North American battery plant with Samsung

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks on Friday announced plans for a second joint venture to build a second battery plant in North America — this time with Samsung SDI.

Stellantis NV and the Korean manufacturer said, after entering into a memorandum of understanding that is subject to regulatory approvals, they are planning for a launch of production starting in 2025. The lithium-ion battery plant will have an initial annual capacity of 23 gigawatt hours with the ability to increase that to 40 gigawatt hours in the future.

Stellantis NV's North American headquarters is in Auburn Hills. The transatlantic automaker on Friday announced plans for a joint venture with Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI to build lithium-ion batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles in North America.

The site for production of hybrid and EV batteries for assembly plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico is under review. The automaker declined to address whether it could be in Michigan. The quasi-governmental Michigan Economic Development Corp. earlier this week said it's engaged in ongoing communications with automakers and battery suppliers about their future electrification strategy and opportunities in Michigan but that it would be premature to discuss any potential future plans.

The newly announced plant's maximum capacity would be in line with the lithium-ion battery plant Stellantis announced on Monday it will operate with LG Energy Solution in North America. The plans suggest the transatlantic automaker, which currently offers no full EVs in the United States, is accelerating its transformation toward electrified vehicles from its EV Day plans shared in July, when it said it would invest $35.5 billion in electrification by 2025, with its first North American battery plant opening by 2025 and its second by 2030.

“With the forthcoming battery plants coming online, we will be well positioned to compete and ultimately win in the North American electric vehicle market,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. “Our strategy to work with highly recognized partners boosts the speed and agility needed to design and build safe, affordable and sustainable vehicles that match exactly what our customers demand."

Stellantis said 96% of its nameplates will have a hybrid or fully EV option in the United States in 2025. That will be 100% in 2029, according to the company, so that such low-emission vehicles represent more than 40% of U.S. sales by 2030.

Samsung is the supplier for the plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler and soon-to-launch Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe SUVs. LG supplies batteries for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan.

“It is an honor for us to build a battery joint venture with Stellantis who is accelerating its electrification strategy in this green energy era,” said Samsung SDI CEO Young-hyun Jun in a statement. “With this battery joint venture, we will do our best to meet the high standards of our customers in the North American EV market leveraging Samsung SDI’s battery technology, high quality products and safety measures.”

Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday also shared plans to build a $1.29 billion factory in the U.S. to manufacture batteries for hybrids and EVs. A location for that was not disclosed.

General Motors Co. also has partnered with LG. Their joint venture, Ultium Cells LLC, is constructing battery plants in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee, which will open in the first quarter of 2022 and late 2023, respectively. The Lordstown plant will have 30 gigawatt hours of annual capacity. Two other plants, whose locations have yet to be announced, also are planned.

Ford Motor Co. has teamed with SK Innovation Co. to produce batteries in the United States. Two BlueOvalSK plants in Glendale, Kentucky, and one in Stanton, Tennessee, are expected to open starting in 2025 and will offer a combined 129 annual gigawatt hours of capacity for the Dearborn automaker.

In Europe, Stellantis has partnered with French oil and gas company TotalEnergies SE and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz for its Automotive Cells Co. joint venture. A total of three battery plants are planned in France by 2023, Germany by 2025 and Italy by 2030. Altogether, they represent 120 gigawatt hours in annual capacity.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble