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Companies Ramp Up EV Factory Investments

Semcorp

As The U.S. Speeds Transition Away From Gas-Powered Vehicles, More Companies Are Investing in EV Infrastructure. 

The Federal administration has ambitious plans to transition the United States from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles (EVs). As part of its $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, the administration aims to build a national network of 500,000 EV chargers, ensure that half of the new vehicles sold will be electric beginning in 2030, transition all government-owned vehicles to zero emissions by 2035, and allocate more than $3 billion in funds to finance EV battery manufacturing.

The private sector will play an important role in helping these bold plans come to fruition, mainly through financing facilities to produce EVs and batteries.

There has already been a lot of activity in 2022, with three major announcements coming in May alone. 

The first announcement came on May 5, when Semcorp, a Shanghai-based manufacturer of EV battery components, said it would invest $916 million in a new manufacturing plant in Sidney, Ohio. The facility will make separator film for lithium-ion batteries and employ nearly 1,200 people. At the time of the announcement, no timeline was provided on when construction and production will begin.

Photo Courtesy Jenny Ueberberg

A couple of weeks later, on May 21, Korean auto giant Hyundai Group announced plans to invest nearly $5.5 billion in an EV plant in Bryan County, Georgia, creating 8,100 new jobs. The factory expects to reach a manufacturing capacity of 300,000 electric vehicles a year when it begins commercial production in the first half of 2025. The plant is expected to break ground early next year.

Hyundai’s announcement was followed three days later by the news that a joint venture between Samsung and Stellantis — the company that owns Jeep and Ram —will spend $2.5 billion to build a battery factory in Kokomo, Indiana, that is expected to create 1,400 jobs. The plant, slated to begin production by 2025, will supply battery packs for Jeeps, Ram trucks, and other vehicles in North America.

Photo Courtesy Semcorp

Earlier this year, in February, Japanese automaker Nissan announced plans to invest $500 million in a plant in Canton, Mississippi, that will produce two electric models for Nissan and Infiniti and battery packs for the cars. The facility will employ nearly 2,000 people. Production is slated to begin in 2025. Nissan is also planning a battery cell factory in the United States.

These and other investments will go a long way toward helping the United States develop its own EV industry and lessen its reliance on the global supply chain – considered critical if the country is to deliver on its EV goals.

That’s one of the reasons Hyundai decided to make such a big investment in Georgia. CNN reported that the company’s battery manufacturing facility will be launched with a strategic partnership, with details coming later. 

Photo Courtesy Dcbel

“Through the battery manufacturing facility, the Group also aims to establish a stable supply chain and build a healthy EV ecosystem in the U.S.,” Hyundai said in a statement. 

Hyundai’s Georgia plant will span nearly 3,000 acres in Bryan County, about 30 miles from the Port of Savannah. Hyundai said it chose Georgia because of its “speed-to-market, talented workforce, as well as existing network.” 

The size and scale of the Hyundai announcement overshadowed the joint venture between Stellantis and Samsung, but that partnership also has big plans. Stellantis, which was formed in 2021 through a merger between Fiat Chrysler and French automaker Peugeot, aims to sell 5 million electric vehicles by 2030, The New York Times reported.

The company’s goal is to have electric cars and trucks generate all its sales in Europe and half of its sales in North America by the end of the decade. New models will include an electric Dodge sports car, an electric Ram pickup truck and an electric Jeep sport utility vehicle. Chrysler has a long-time presence in Kokomo and currently makes engines and transmissions there.

Semcorp’s new facility in Sidney, Ohio, represents one of the biggest investments in company history. It was attracted to the U.S. because of its commitment to building supply chains for EVs and energy storage, Semcorp Co-Founder and CEO Paul Lee said in a press release.

“Our Sidney site will be America’s largest manufacturer of separator film for EV batteries,” he added. 

Semcorp is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery separator film producer, with 5 billion square meters in annual base film production capacity across six manufacturing facilities. The company plans to add an additional 8 billion square meters in capacity within the next four years, including the Sidney site, as it aims to take advantage of the booming EV market.

Photo Courtesy Eren Goldman
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