South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI is considering an investment in the US to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles, industry sources said on Friday, stoking speculation over potential partnerships with major automakers.
The battery-making arm of Samsung Electronics has been reviewing various options to build a new battery factory in the U.S. to supply potential clients but has remained cautious over its plan despite rising market expectations.
“We are considering U.S. investment, but details have not yet been decided,” a company official said without elaboration, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing discussions, reports Yonhap news agency.
Talks have been underway with major automakers, including Stellantis, to discuss a partnership, which could be a supply deal or establishing a joint venture to build a new factory in the U.S., another source said.
Stellaris, the world’s No. 4 automaker, has been considered as a potential partner for Samsung SDI as it plans to build its own battery manufacturing facilities to accelerate its EV transition.
During the EV Day presentation on Thursday, the automaker, which was formed in January from the merger of Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA, said it will invest more than 30 billion euros ($35.54 billion) through 2025 for its electrification, noting it is “in final steps” of securing a battery partner in North America.
Samsung SDI is well-positioned to team up with Stellantis as its two other Korean rivals have already established joint ventures with American automakers to build battery factories.
LG Energy has launched a joint venture with General Motors to build battery factories in Ohio and Tennessee, in addition to its plant in Michigan, under its plans to invest more than $4.5 billion in the U.S. by 2025.
SK Innovation and Ford are set to launch a joint venture that will build a $5.3 billion battery plant in the U.S. separate from SK’s two factories under construction in Georgia.
Samsung SDI has battery cell plants in South Korea, Hungary, and China and operates a battery pack assembly line in Michigan built-in 2018.
The company supplies batteries to German automaker BMW and Fiat, now part of the Stellantis family, and has secured a deal from U.S. startup Rivian, backed by Amazon and Ford, for its electric pickup and SUVs.