Stellantis and Samsung SDI to Build $2.5B Li-ion Battery Facility
At a new plant in Indiana, Stellantis will work with Samsung SDI to produce lithium-ion battery cells and modules for its growing EV lineup.
Last week, auto giant Stellantis and battery materials manufacturer Samsung SDI signed a joint venture deal to construct a $2.5 billion lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery production facility in Kokomo, Indiana. The plant will kick off operations in 2025 with an annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt hours (GWh), then increasing to 33 GWh (and upping the investment to $3.1 billion) over the next few years.
Samsung SDI CEO Yoon-ho Choi (left) and Stellantis North America COO Mark Stewart shake hands after formalizing their companies’ joint venture. Image used courtesy of Stellantis N.V.
The facility will produce Samsung SDI’s new PRiMX-branded battery cells and modules for a range of vehicles at Stellantis’ North American assembly plants.
Stellantis’ Aggressive Electrification Targets
The move marks Stellantis’ first EV battery joint venture in the U.S. and its second in North America. In March, it announced an agreement with LG Energy Solution to build a lithium-ion production facility in Ontario, Canada, with a starting capacity of 45 GWh per year when operations launch in early-2024.
Stellantis, which formed out of last year’s Fiat Chrysler-PSA Group merger, owns 14 car brands carrying global name recognition. Mirroring the efforts of fellow automakers such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota, the company recently unveiled its “Dare Forward 2030” strategic plan to cut emissions in half and reach 5 million global battery EV (BEV) sales by 2030. It’s targeting 100% BEV sales in Europe and 50% in the U.S.
Five million BEV sales is an ambitious goal, considering the company sold 6.5 million units worldwide last year in total, not just its EVs. Global sales for its low-emission vehicles (including BEVs, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell EVs) totaled 388,000 units last year, a 160% jump from 2020.
But Stellantis is already on track to surpass that in 2022, reporting 109,000 LEV sales in the first quarter, up 36,000 units from last year. Its BEV sales, in particular, rose 55% to 60,000 units globally.
A slide from Stellantis' 2021 earnings presentation outlines its planned EV launches. Image used courtesy of Stellantis N.V.
As part of its electrification expansion strategy, Stellantis plans to ramp up its battery capacity to 400 GWh by the end of the decade, up from about 260 GWh at present. That capacity would be spread across five battery manufacturing plants in Europe and North America. In total, the electrification plan earmarks more than $30 billion for EV and software development through 2025.
Stellantis Has a Long History in Kokomo
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a press release that the new Kokomo plant “solidifies [its] global battery production footprint and demonstrates Stellantis’ drive toward a decarbonized future outlined in Dare Forward 2030.”
At a press event last week, Stellantis North America COO Mark Stewart commented that the company’s 85-plus-year history in Kokomo was a deciding factor for its site selection. The company’s 110-acre Kokomo transmission plant opened in 1956 and now produces its 2-liter GMET4 powertrain and six-, eight- and nine-speed transmissions, among other components.
What’s in It for Samsung SDI?
For Samsung SDI, the deal secures a “solid foothold” in the North American EV market, CEO Yoon-ho Choi stated in the company's announcement. The South Korean company is already a major player in the Li-ion battery market, developing small batteries for laptops, tablets, phones, wearables and more consumer products. Its existing EV batteries are used by leading car brands such as Fiat and BMW.
All of the batteries produced at the Kokomo plant will be under Samsung SDI’s new PRiMX brand, announced last December.
A preview of Samsung SDI’s new PRiMX-branded batteries. Image used courtesy of Samsung SDI
Short for “Prime Battery for Maximum Experience,” PRiMX brings new standards across the company’s battery manufacturing and design operations, including quality control enhancements, high-capacity and high-power performance capabilities with nickel cathode and silicon anode materials, and fast-charging to cut transport distance and time by reducing battery cell resistance.
Earlier this year, the company showcased a BMW iX equipped with its fifth-generation EV battery, capable of traveling 630 kilometers (391 miles) on a single charge and reaching full acceleration in 4.6 seconds. Samsung SDI is in the process of scaling up mass production for its sixth generation of batteries in 2024, increasing the nickel content to 91% to improve energy density and shorten charging times.