Stellantis, the parent company of Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler, has selected Kokomo, Indiana, as the site for its next electric vehicle battery factory. The plant will be built in partnership with South Korea’s Samsung SDI and cost between $2.5 and $3 billion. The two companies will share the cost of the factory, which is expected to create 1,400 new jobs in Kokomo, where Stellantis already operates several manufacturing facilities for castings, transmissions, and engines.
The Verge reports the new battery factory will help accelerate the company’s push to electrify its vehicle lineup, the company said. Stellantis has been slower to embrace battery-electric cars than Ford or General Motors, but says it expects to sell 5 million EVs a year by 2030 and to sell only electric models after 2028. It has previously announced the construction of a $1.4 billion battery manufacturing facility in partnership with LG Energy Solution in Windsor, Ontario.
At a press conference to announce the new Indiana factory, Stellantis COO Mark Stewart acknowledged that some industry observers believe the company is lagging behind its crosstown rivals in Detroit. “Sometimes people think that we’re behind. ‘We are not. Today we already have 19 different [battery-electric vehicles] in the marketplace around the world. We have two [plug-in hybrid vehicles] here in the US, so we are behind when it comes to bringing BEVs to this marketplace, but not much.”
The new Kokomo factory is scheduled to start production in 2025. It will have an initial annual production capacity of 23 GWh with an increase to 33 GWh in the next few years. The company’s Windsor factory with LG will have an annual capacity of 45 GWh for a total of 78 GWh.
In comparison, Ford has said its three new battery plants will enable 129 GWh a year of production capacity. General Motors is planning four new battery factories in the US (also with LG Chem) for a total annual capacity of 140 GWh, while Volkswagen is aiming to have six battery cell production plants operating in Europe by 2030 for a total of 240 GWh a year (and there is a possibility of a US battery factory as well).
So yes, Stellantis is running behind its rivals, but at least it is making an effort. Its latest Airflow electric car concept is quite attractive (assuming anyone in the US will consider buying a sedan), and its recent BEV Jeep concept is certain to appeal to customers who demand their vehicles have that je ne sais quoi that defines the essence of Jeep-ness. Will it still be the world’s No. 4 automaker by volume in 2028? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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