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Samsung SDI, GM to build $3 billion battery plant in Indiana

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Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho, second from left, and Eric Holcomb, governor of Indiana, pose for a photo during his visit to the battery maker's manufacturing plant in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, in August. [YONHAP]
Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho, second from left, and Eric Holcomb, governor of Indiana, pose for a photo during his visit to the battery maker’s manufacturing plant in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, in August. [YONHAP]

Samsung SDI and General Motors (GM) will jointly invest at least $3 billion to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Indiana, the Korean battery maker said Wednesday.

The companies announced the plan in April but did not name a location at the time.

The plant, to be built on a 2.65-million-square-meter (28.5-million-square-foot) site in New Carlisle, Indiana, aims to have an annual production capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours that could be used to manufacture 300,000 EVs.

Samsung SDI will likely produce high-nickel prismatic and cylindrical batteries at the factory.

Ground will be broken within the next year, with plans to go operational in 2026. It will create 1,700 new manufacturing jobs, according to the state.

TheĀ Indiana Economic Development Corporation said it is working with Samsung SDI and GM to finalize an incentive offer to support the joint venture’s investment and job creation.

Samsung SDI CEO Choi, left, and Mark Stewart, Stellantis chief operating officer for the North American region, shake hands after signing an agreement to invest $2.5 billion in building an EV battery factory in Kokomo, Indiana, on May 24, 2022. [SAMSUNG SDI]
Samsung SDI CEO Choi, left, and Mark Stewart, Stellantis chief operating officer for the North American region, shake hands after signing an agreement to invest $2.5 billion in building an EV battery factory in Kokomo, Indiana, on May 24, 2022. [SAMSUNG SDI]


The New Carlisle plant will be Samsung SDI’s second battery-making plant in the United States, both in Indiana. Samsung SDI is currently building a $2.5 billion battery plant in Kokomo, Indiana, with Stellantis.

“Through the establishment of a battery joint venture with GM, we are grateful that Samsung SDI can contribute to boosting the economy of Indiana and creating new jobs here,” Choi Yoon-ho, Samsung SDI CEO, said.

“Securing Indiana as a strong foothold together with GM, Samsung SDI will supply products featuring the highest level of safety and quality in a bid to help the U.S. move forward to an era of electric vehicles.”

The creation of the joint venture came as a surprise as GM was expected to build its fourth U.S. battery plant with LG Energy Solution, Korea’s largest battery maker.

GM and LG Energy Solution currently have three battery plants either running or under construction in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan.

GM CEO Mary Barra said last year the two are in talks for the fourth factory.

Analysts say the latest joint venture plan marks Samsung SDI’s earnest determination to make investments in the North American region as part of efforts to counter the Inflation Reduction Act.

Unlike other battery makers in Korea, like LG Energy Solution and SK On, Samsung SDI currently has no battery-making plants in the United States.

“Samsung SDI has been consistently conservative in entering the North America market as it has been focused on its European bases as the majority of their clients are from Europe,” Lee Ju-yong, an eBEST Investment & Securities analyst, said.

“Samsung SDI highly prioritizes safety, and with the expansion, it is considered the company with the highest growth potential among the three battery makers in Korea,” Lee added.

As of the end of April, Samsung SDI was the world’s seventh-largest battery maker, with 4.1 percent of the market share, according to data from SNE Research.

BY SARAH CHEA [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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