Only a day after news broke of Stellantis and LG Energy Solution planning a joint venture to manufacture battery cells and modules in North America, it appears Stellantis is setting up a similar joint venture with Samsung SDI.
The memorandum of understanding between the multinational automaker and LG Energy Solutions, which is expected to result in the construction of a battery factory in North America, was signed this Monday. Now Reuters reports, a second deal could follow suit. The news agency quotes industry insiders reporting that Stellantis and Samsung SDI have agreed to jointly produce batteries for electric cars in the future. According to a person familiar with the matter, Samsung SDI and Stellantis also signed an MoU to this effect already, while the location of the battery joint venture was still under review. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency earlier reported the two companies to build a factory in the United States, citing industry sources.
Official confirmation is still pending, and no details such as the planned start of production or manufacturing capacities have been leaked yet. However, to put things in perspective, the construction of the battery plant with LGES is scheduled to start as early as Q2 2022 at an unknown location. With a capacity of 40 GWh, the plant is set to start operations in the first quarter of 2024.
If the deal with Samsung SDI is confirmed, Stellantis, with its US brands such as Jeep, Dodge and Ram, would take a different path than, for example, competitor General Motors: GM has already established the Ultium Cells joint venture with LG Energy Solution (then still LG Chem) in 2019 and started building a battery plant in Ohio. However, GM is also relying on LGES as a partner for its second battery factory in Tennessee, while Stellantis is planning factories with more than one partner. For LGES, this is not the first joint venture with a US carmaker.
Since details about the Stellantis’ and Samsung SDI’s plans are unknown, it is also open whether cell production will be Stellantis-exclusive. Reuters already reported in July, citing company circles, that Samsung SDI was considering building a battery factory in the US. However, the Korean company’s plant was primarily associated with Rivian, known to obtain its round cells from Samsung SDI. Consequently, the town of Normal in the US state of Illinois, where Rivian’s first vehicle plant is also located, was already being discussed as a location.
Stellantis, in its electric strategy, has set a target of more than 40 per cent of its US sales coming from electrified vehicles by 2030. At its ‘EV Day’ in July, the company had named various American brands slated to join the electrification effort.
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