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Samsung SDI to build own EV battery factory in North America

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Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho speaks during an annual shareholder meeting in southern Seoul on Wednesday. [SAMSUNG SDI]
Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho speaks during an annual shareholder meeting in southern Seoul on Wednesday. [SAMSUNG SDI]

Samsung SDI is considering building an independent EV battery factory in North America to ramp up production capacity and compete with rivals.

“We will prepare our own factory as the [EV] market will grow constantly,” Samsung SDI Choi Yoon-ho said on his way out of the annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, without giving details about the location, time and investment size.

Samsung SDI will also “expand joint venture deals with U.S. clients,” Choi added.

The plan addresses the Korean battery maker’s relatively weaker production capacity than its rivals, LG Energy Solution and SK On.

Samsung SDI is currently building three battery plants in Indiana, two with Stellantis and one with General Motors.

Visitors to InterBattery 2024 take a look at a mock-up of Samsung SDI's solid-state battery Wednesday at Coex in southern Seoul in early March. [SAMSUNG SDI]
Visitors to InterBattery 2024 take a look at a mock-up of Samsung SDI’s solid-state battery Wednesday at Coex in southern Seoul in early March. [SAMSUNG SDI]

 

The first plant with Stellantis will begin operation next year and have a 33 gigawatt-hour production capacity, enough to power around 300,000 EVs. The second plant will have a 34 gigawatt-hour capacity and begin production in early 2027.

A joint plant with General Motors is set to start operation in 2026 with 30 gigawatt-hours of capacity.

The plant with GM will produce new 46-series cylindrical batteries, which are 46 millimeters in diameter.

Choi also showed his confidence in the race of solid-state batteries, which are touted as “dream batteries” for their high energy density and low fire risk.

Choi added, “Samsung SDI is overwhelmingly doing well in solid-state batteries and is ahead” of contenders. “All processes are going as planned for mass production, which is set for 2027.”

Samsung SDI has sent samples of solid-state batteries to three clients so far. They will be supplied to premium sports cars and supercars in the early stages.

Meanwhile, the shareholder meeting was full of complaints from shareholders angered by weak share prices.

Samsung SDI shares closed at 453,000 won ($338) on Wednesday, about half their peak price, despite the company’s doubled profit. The share price sits where it was four years ago when EV batteries were of little stock market interest.

“As CEO, I truly apologize for the unsatisfactory share dividend and prices,” Choi said. “Despite the current EV slowdown, Samsung SDI will see big growth beginning in 2025.”

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

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