By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI Co. said Friday it will build its first electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in the United States with global carmaker Stellantis N.V., joining other local rivals' moves to tap deeper into the region.
The announcement confirms earlier reports that the two recently signed a contract, which paves the way for Samsung SDI to join its domestic rivals, such as LG Energy Solution and SK On, to produce EV batteries in America.
Under the deal, Samsung SDI and Stellantis will begin producing EV battery cells and modules in the first half of 2025, starting with an annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt hours (GWh) and aiming for 40 Gwh going forward, according to the press release.
No details on the amount of investment and the size of the battery plant were provided.
The output from the new plant will be supplied to Stellantis' North America production lines -- the United States, Canada and Mexico -- and will be installed in the automaker's plug-in hybrid and EV lineups, the companies said.
The name and exact location of the joint venture have yet to be decided.
It will be Samsung SDI's first production plant in the U.S. market and its third overseas production base after the ones operating in Hungary and China. It has a domestic plant in the southern city of Ulsan.
The Korean company aims to secure a stable supply foothold in America ahead of the free trade agreement among the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which requires carmakers to sell EVs installed with locally produced parts. The trade deal will take effect in July 2025.
Samsung SDI is currently the only South Korean battery maker without a U.S. plant. LG Energy has partnered with General Motors and lately with Stellantis, and SK On, the new battery spinoff of SK Innovation Co., with Ford.
Stellantis, the maker of Jeep SUVs and many other brands, had been seen as a strong potential partner for Samsung SDI, given its active investment for the transition to electric vehicles.
Stellantis, created after a merger of U.S. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and French automaker PSA Groupe, has announced its plans to invest 30 billion euros ($34.9 billion) in electrification and software development by 2025 and achieve its 40 percent EV sales target in North America by 2030.
Samsung SDI has already been supplying the EV batteries to Fiat's 500e and Jeep's Wrangler 4xe.
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