Jeep maker Stellantis NV is expected to announce plans on Tuesday to locate its second North American electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Kokomo, Indiana, three sources familiar with the situation told the Detroit News, beating two sites in Michigan.
The investment would mean Michigan won no battery plants from the first round of gigafactory investments from the transatlantic automaker. An automotive gold rush for megasites making electric vehicles, batteries and related parts has fueled announcements mostly in states and provinces other than the home town that put America on wheels – even from from automakers in his hometown.
The impending Stellantis announcement comes ahead of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac policy conference next week and in a pivotal election year in Michigan as Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has prioritized the economic development. Michigan claims about a quarter of the nation’s engine output and its associated jobs, which is under threat as automakers ditch internal combustion engines to go zero emissions.
Stellantis’ choice of Kokomo because it offered more flexibility, among other things, follows the automaker’s March announcement of its first North American battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, in a joint venture with LG. EnergySolution.
In January, General Motors Co. announced it would build a battery plant in Delta Township outside of Lansing with LG Energy Solution, but that was after the Detroit automaker announced two more plants in Ohio and Tennessee and Ford Motor Co. said it was making an $11.4 billion investment for an electric vehicle assembly plant and three battery plants with partner SK Innovation Co. Ltd. in Tennessee and Kentucky.
A bipartisan effort between Whitmer and GOP lawmakers led to a new incentive program to lure the GM project. Embarrassed by Ford’s move south, Michigan created the “Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve,” or SOAR, a $1 billion incentive fund to help expedite a $1 billion investment deal. several billion dollars with GM,
Whitmer and lawmakers have pushed to win more large-scale manufacturing projects and invest additional state funds in incentives, hoping to stake Michigan’s claim to the future of the auto industry. LG Energy Solution announced in March that it would quintuple its capacity at its existing plant in Holland, but it is unclear whether the governor will be able to score additional developments ahead of the November election.
The Democratic governor has a request pending before the Republican-controlled Legislature for $500 million in cash grants to help secure economic development agreements and pay for infrastructure improvements to make sites ready to go. In December, lawmakers earmarked $1 billion for a fund that the Whitmer administration used to allocate $666 million to GM and its battery partner for electric vehicle investments in Eaton and Counties. ‘Oaklands.
Meanwhile, a slew of mobility manufacturing announcements from foreign automakers and electric vehicle startups like Rivian Automotive Inc. have made their way to southern states including Georgia and North Carolina.
Mark Stewart, Stellantis’ chief operating officer for North America, said the company, home to the Chrysler, Dodge and Ram brands, was to announce a second gigafactory with Korean battery maker Samsung SDI in the United States in the near future. coming weeks after making two multi-billion dollar investments in Windsor.
A media advisory sent Monday announces “an update on the future of its Kokomo operations” will be given at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Kokomo at Hingst Hall at Ivy Tech Community College. The community of nearly 60,000 has Stellantis transmission, casting and engine plants, including where it recently invested $400 million to reuse the old, inactive Indiana Transmission Plant II to build engines.
Stellantis previously said with Samsung that their joint venture battery plant was to start production in 2025 to supply batteries for electrified vehicles in North America. The lithium-ion battery plant would have an initial annual capacity of 23 gigawatt hours with the possibility of increasing it to 40 gigawatt hours in the future.
That’s smaller than the announced Stellantis gigafactory for Windsor with LG Energy Solution. The annual capacity of this $4.1 billion plant is expected to exceed 45 gigawatt hours and start in the first quarter of 2024, providing 2,500 new jobs.
Kokomo beat Dundee in Monroe County, where Stellantis has a 1.3 million square foot engine plant, according to two of the sources who declined to be identified because the announcement is not yet public. A site of approximately 400 acres in Marshall was also considered. Locations in Wayne County were presented, but properties near Belleville and Trenton were deemed too small.
Stellantis is investing $35.5 billion in electrification and software by 2025. It says it will have around 400 gigawatt hours of annual capacity by 2030 across five gigafactories, including three in Europe and the two in North America. By then, it expects more than half of its U.S. sales to be all-electric.
Although Stellantis does not currently build batteries in Michigan, its factories have been updated in Detroit and Warren to manufacture plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles in the future. Typically, startups and traditional automakers are expected to add more battery and EV-related projects in the coming months.
Writer Craig Mauger contributed.