Stellantis N.V. and Samsung SDI have declared Kokomo, Indiana, as the site for their second battery manufacturing facility under the StarPlus Energy joint venture. This announcement shines a spotlight on the complex and evolving landscape of the American electric vehicle (EV) industry.
The new StarPlus Energy plant, projected to commence production in early 2027 with an annual capacity of 34 gigawatt hours (GWh), carries with it a substantial investment of over $3.2 billion (€2.8 billion) and the promise of creating 1,400 new jobs. However, it also faces considerable hurdles and uncertainties in a rapidly evolving market.
The enthusiasm for this venture is evident, with Mark Stewart, Stellantis COO North America, stating, “Our battery ecosystem is the foundation of our electrification strategy.” This venture certainly has potential, but it is not without its challenges, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the EV market.
The sheer scale of this endeavor is a testament to the long-term vision of both Stellantis and Samsung SDI. It aims to establish North America’s largest production base for electric-vehicle batteries, reflecting a dedication to advancing the region’s role in EV technology. Yoon-ho Choi, president and CEO of Samsung SDI, expressed hope, noting, “We expect Stellantis brand vehicles powered by Samsung SDI batteries to contribute to accelerating the U.S. transition to an era of electric vehicles.”
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb hailed the economic benefits of this joint venture but did not shy away from the challenges that lie ahead. He declared, “This decision puts Hoosiers squarely at the center of innovating and developing the future of mobility.” While promising, this venture must navigate a terrain filled with competition and uncertainties.
The city of Kokomo, with its storied history in automotive innovation, is positioning itself at the forefront of this electrifying venture. Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore acknowledged the significance of this second battery plant, stating, “Kokomo continues to remain on the cutting edge of advanced automotive manufacturing.”
As Stellantis and Samsung SDI push forward with their ambitious plans, they face a future where the electric vehicle market is still evolving, and competition is fierce. While their combined efforts promise to make an impact, they must grapple with the unpredictability that characterizes the EV industry.
As part of the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, Stellantis is aiming for a 100% passenger-car battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales mix in Europe and a 50% passenger-car and light-duty truck BEV sales mix in the United States by 2030. Achieving these goals is a monumental task and will require overcoming numerous obstacles.