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Kokomo, Ind., Lands $2.5B Electric Vehicle Battery Plant

The plant is being built through a joint partnership between Stellantis and Samsung SDI to produce batteries for a range of electric vehicles produced at Stellantis' North American assembly plants.

Charging Electric Batteries
(TNS) — Kokomo is set to be the home of a new electric vehicle battery plant that will employ 1,400 workers and mark a $2.5-billion investment in the city.

The plant is being built through a joint partnership between Stellantis and Samsung SDI to produce batteries for a range of electric vehicles produced at Stellantis' North American assembly plants.

The facility is Stellantis' first battery plant in the U.S., and the fifth battery plant the company has constructed worldwide. The project also marks Samsung SDI's first manufacturing presence in the country.

The 3.3-million-square-foot factory will be built at the site of the city's new industrial park, located at 2644 N. 50 East, just southeast of the Kokomo Engine Plant.

Charlie Sparks, CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said they anticipated development would happen gradually at the industrial park, but didn't expect such huge results so quickly. He said the market-ready site put the community in a solid position to compete for the battery plant.

The announcement of the project came Tuesday afternoon at Ivy Tech Kokomo, where officials with both companies touted the local workforce, the city's infrastructure and the caliber of students graduating from the college as major reasons for choosing Kokomo for the project.

Mark Steward, COO of Stellantis North America, said it made sense to bring the plant to Kokomo, where the company recently opened the engine plant producing motors that can be used in both traditional gas vehicles as well as hybrid vehicles. In October, the company also announced plans to retool three local plants to produce 8-speed transmissions for electric and hybrid vehicles.

"This is a key piece of our strategy," Steward said about the battery plant. "This ensures that the Kokomo community continues to play a central role in our company's efforts to provide safe, clean and affordable mobility to our customers today and into the future."

Steward said in an interview after the announcement that the company partnered with Samsung SDI on the project because of its expertise and knowledge in the battery space. The South Korea-based company manufactures rechargeable batteries for the IT industry and energy storage systems, as well as cutting edge materials used in semiconductors.

"They are really experts in terms of that technology space, so we're learning from them," he said. "While we are very good at efficiencies and traditional manufacturing, they are outstanding at energy, and this form of it. That's why we're coming together."

The partnership will eventually become its own entity, with the name of the new venture being announced in the coming months.

Construction is set to begin on the facility later this year, with a planned launch in the first quarter of 2025. Steward said they will begin hiring initial positions once construction is underway. Employees will work directly for the new company that will emerge from the partnership, he said.

The plant marks a huge win for the community, and the state, which had to compete with other locations around the nation to land the facility.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb called the plant, and the number of new jobs it will create, a "dream come true" for the region.

" Kokomo, Indiana, is a community that is resilient, it is trusted, and it's going to make you look good," he said to both companies. "... It's a perfect home for your new venture. We're proud to have you as part of our family."

Holcomb also directly praised Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore and Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman for bringing a "positive force to the discussion and the negotiation table."

"They always responded with quickness and always with a smile, and that's endearing as well when you're going after something as competitive and fast-moving as this whole process has been," he said.

Moore said the new battery plant is another example of the city and Stellantis leading the way in the auto industry.

"This multi-billion-dollar investment will help solidify the Kokomo region as a global leader in automotive manufacturing," he said.

The project is a major step toward Stellantis fulfilling its strategic plan, called Dare Forward 2030, to have global annual battery electric vehicles sales of 5 million by 2030. In the U.S., the plan calls for 50% of sales to be made up of battery electric passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

The new Kokomo facility aims to have an initial annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt hours (GWh), with the goal to increase to 33 GWh in the next few years. The company said the total capacity would increase further as demand for Stellantis' electric vehicles is expected to rise.

Stellantis said the investment at the new plant could also increase up to $3.1 billion depending on the demand for new EV vehicles.

As part of the Dare Forward 2030 plan, the company is shooting to have 400 GWh capacity through its five battery plants, along with additional supply contracts.

To entice the companies to bring the new factory to the state, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has committed a $37.5-million investment in conditional tax credits.

The project is also receiving $2 million in conditional training grants; $20 million in conditional redevelopment tax credits; $2 million from the local community to support infrastructure improvements at the site; and up to $100 million in conditional structured performance payments.

Holcomb said that in the end, the project will be a massive boon for the city and the state and take Indiana's long history in automotive manufacturing into the future.

" Kokomo and the state of Indiana has always had a rich automotive heritage," he said. "But with today's news, we all just became a lot richer."

© 2022 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.