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Samsung SDI, GM to build $3 bln EV battery plant in US

April 25, 2023 - 20:32 By Im Eun-byel

Samsung SDI Co. said Tuesday it is pushing to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facility in the United States in a joint venture with General Motors Co.

The South Korean battery maker unveiled the plan in a regulatory filing, under which the two companies have agreed to invest more than $3 billion in constructing a plant with an annual capacity of over 30 gigawatt hours (GWh).

The location of the plant has not been decided yet, it said.

The company aims to commence commercial operations by 2026.

The joint venture will produce nickel-rich prismatic and cylindrical cells to supply GM for its upcoming EVs.

It will be Samsung SDI's second battery manufacturing facility in the US and marks its first partnership with GM.

It is spending $2.5 billion in the joint venture with Stellantis N.V., the world's fourth-largest carmaker, to build its first battery plant in Indiana.

The Indiana plant is targeting a production capacity of 23 GWh annually. The operations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2025.

Samsung SDI said the new joint venture is expected to help further expand its presence in the US market.

"It is a great pleasure to take the very first step to create a long-term industry-leading partnership with GM in the US EV market," Samsung SDI President and CEO Choi Yoon-ho said.

GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said the joint venture will help the automaker achieve its supply chain objectives, including scalability and cost-competitiveness.

"The cells we will build together will help us scale our EV capacity in North America well beyond 1 million units annually," Barra said.

The joint venture indicates a diversification in the use of batteries for GM, one of the global automakers in a race for electrification.

GM has mainly adopted pouch cells for its EVs and partnered up with LG Energy Solution Ltd. (LGES), a pouch cell-focused battery producer, for a joint plant operating in Ohio, and two other plants under construction in Tennessee and Michigan.

Samsung SDI is known for producing prismatic and cylindrical cells. It recently revealed it is working to mass produce 46 millimeter-in-diameter cylindrical cells, a next-generation product expected to perform far better than existing 18-mm or 21-mm wide cells.

GM and LGES withdrew an earlier plan to build a fourth plant in the US.

Speculation had grown that Samsung SDI would be GM's next partner. (Yonhap)