DETROIT – Samsung SDI and automaker Stellantis plan to invest more than $3.2 billion in a new electric vehicle battery plant in Kokomo, Indiana.
The facility – Stellantis’ sixth battery plant announced globally – was largely expected but the location and timing are notable. The Wednesday announcement was made in the middle of contentious U.S. labor strikes and contract negotiations between Stellantis and the United Auto Workers union, led by UAW President Shawn Fain, who is from Kokomo.
Battery plants have become a main issue in the labor talks, as the UAW views EV battery jobs as crucial to its long-term viability. General Motors last week agreed to include workers at its EV battery plant in the company’s national contract with the union, which Fain called a “transformative win.”
Fain said the union expects Stellantis and Ford Motor to follow suit, including battery plant workers in eventual contract agreements.
“The plan was to draw down engine and transmission plants and permanently replace them with low-wage battery jobs,” Fain said Friday. “We had a different plan, and our plan is winning at GM. And we expect it to win at Ford and Stellantis as well.”
Stellantis declined to comment on details of the ongoing negotiations or timing of the announcement.
EV battery plants are key to the automaker’s plans to build models such as an electric version of its Ram pickup truck and Dodge muscle car.
The new Stellantis battery plant is the second to be planned in Kokomo through a joint venture between the automaker and Samsung SDI, called StarPlus Energy. The two plants are expected to create 2,800 new jobs, according to the company.
The first $2.5 billion battery plant for StarPlus Energy is under construction. It’s scheduled to begin production during the first quarter of 2025. The second plant is expected to begin production of battery cells in early 2027.
“Our battery ecosystem is the foundation of our electrification strategy and our great partners Samsung SDI, the State of Indiana, and the City of Kokomo have created a compelling case for locating our sixth gigafactory in Kokomo,” Mark Stewart, Stellantis COO North America, said in a statement.