Samsung SDI considers battery plant in Illinois


The South Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI is considering building a cell factory in the US state of Illinois. Specifically, the town of Normal is mentioned as the location. This is hardly surprising, as Normal is also home to the vehicle plant of partner Rivian.

The news was broken by state senator Dick Durbin, who told reporters he was in talks with Samsung about building a battery plant. “We are competing for a large battery factory from Samsung,” Durbin said. “The delegation came from Korea this week. I’ve talked to them and others have as well.”

The Democratic senator did not specify which other sites Illinois is competing with, saying a decision has not yet been made. “We hope that this Samsung plant next to Rivian,” Durbin continued. “This battery plant will also create thousands of jobs.”

Electric car start-up Rivian currently operates its only plant in Normal, where it builds the R1S and R1T models, as well as the e-delivery truck for Amazon. This is a former Mitsubishi plant that Rivian acquired in 2017. Although the R1S and R1T are not yet delivered, Rivian already has plans for a second US plant – according to the latest rumours, Mesa in Arizona and Fort Worth in Texas are among those in the running. A combined vehicle and battery plant will presumably be built as part of ‘Project Tera’. For the vehicle production in Normal, Rivian relies on purchased cells from Samsung SDI – more precisely round cells in the 2170 format.

In July, Reuters had reported, citing insiders, that Samsung SDI was considering building a cell factory in the USA – partly because of the agreement with Rivian, but there were also talks with the Stellantis Group. The latter had announced in July that it would also increasingly electrify its US brands such as Jeep, Dodge and Ram. The report already mentioned possible investment sums (equivalent to 2.2 billion euros for Stellantis production and around 730 million euros for Rivian), but according to the sources, it was not clear at the time whether the plant would be set up as a joint venture with an automaker or as an independent production site.

Both Samsung SDI and Rivian would not comment on the information to Reuters. Samsung SDI currently has battery plants in South Korea, China and Hungary.


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