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BMW’s Woodruff, SC plant begins construction; Stellantis & Samsung SDI to build 2nd Kokomo, IN gigafactory.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

October 19, 2023

3 Min Read
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Arial view of the construction site of BMW's high-voltage battery plant in Woodruff, SC.Image courtesy of BMW Group

While some automakers are slowing down their ambitious US battery assembly plant plans—such as Ford’s pause on construction of its BluOval battery plant in Michigan—others are charging ahead. Both BMW and Stellantis (with partner Samsung SDI) have announced progress on their US battery manufacturing plans.

BMW Group begins building construction at Woodruff, SC, battery plant

BMW Group has marked the beginning of construction for its high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff, SC. The $1.7 billion investment, announced a year ago, includes $1 billion to prep the Spartanburg plant for fully electric vehicle production and $700 million for the Woodruff battery facility.

Expected to be operational in 2026, Plant Woodruff will cover over one million square feet and generate over 300 jobs. BMW plans to produce the sixth-generation batteries for its fully electric vehicles at this facility, supporting its goal of manufacturing at least six fully electric models in the U.S. by 2030.

As part of a "local for local" strategy, BMW will source battery cells from partner AESC's new facility in Florence, South Carolina. These cells will be used at Plant Woodruff to manufacture batteries for fully electric BMW X models at Plant Spartanburg. The Woodruff facility aims for sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization, aligning with BMW's commitment to advancing electric vehicle technology in the US.

“Today, we literally begin to build our legacy as we start the construction of Plant Woodruff,” stated Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “This BMW plant will play an important role for the future of electric mobility at Plant Spartanburg and in the United States.”

Stellantis, Samsung SDI announce Kokomo, IN, as the site for 2nd US gigafactory

Meanwhile, Kokomo, IN, is gearing up for a major boost in its battery manufacturing capacity: Stellantis NV and Samsung SDI are teaming up for a second facility in Kokomo, IN, under the StarPlus Energy joint venture. Set to start production in early 2027, the new StarPlus Energy plant aims for an annual capacity of 34 gigawatt hours (GWh). The joint venture plans to invest over $3.2 billion, bringing along 1,400 new jobs to Kokomo and its neighboring areas. With both facilities combined, the total investment skyrockets to over $6.3 billion and promises a total of 2,800 new job opportunities.

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This marks Kokomo's second StarPlus Energy gigafactory. The first one is already in the works and expected to open its doors in the first quarter of 2025. With an annual production capacity of 33 GWh, it's a significant step toward establishing Kokomo as a key player in battery manufacturing.

“Our battery ecosystem is the foundation of our electrification strategy, and our great partners Samsung SDI, the state of Indiana, and the city of Kokomo have created a compelling case for locating our sixth gigafactory in Kokomo,” said Mark Stewart, Stellantis COO North America in a statement. “The BEVs coming to our North America brands play an important role in our drive to offer clean, safe and affordable mobility for all and achieve the bold goal of carbon net zero by 2038.”

As part of its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, Stellantis announced plans of reaching a 100% passenger-car battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales mix in Europe and 50% passenger-car and light-duty truck BEV sales mix in the United States by 2030. To achieve these sales targets, the company is securing approximately 400 GWh of battery capacity. Stellantis is on track to become a carbon net zero corporation by 2038, all scopes included, with single-digit percentage compensation of remaining emissions.

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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