AESC investing $1.5B to expand South Carolina operations


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Dive Brief:

  • Electric vehicle battery cell maker AESC plans to spend $1.5 billion to expand its lithium-ion battery manufacturing site in Florence County, South Carolina, the company announced Tuesday.
  • The BMW supplier will build a second EV battery production facility and create an additional 1,080 jobs. Operations are expected to begin in 2027.
  • The new facility will supply BMW’s assembly operations in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, where the automaker will build the next generation of its Neue Klasse EV model beginning in 2027.

Dive Insight:

The latest investment is AESC’s second expansion announcement in four months as it extends its EV battery supplier partnership with BMW, which began in 2022. 

The second building will neighbor AESC’s large-scale battery cell production facility, which first broke ground in June 2023. The battery cell facility is currently under construction and AESC announced plans in December that it’ll invest an additional $810 million to expand the facility and add 450 jobs.

The large-scall factory will supply BMW’s battery assembly plant in Woodruff, South Carolina, and will be used in EV production at its assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The battery cells are expected to result in 20% more energy density as well as reduce charging time and increase range and efficiency by 30%, according to a Dec. 12 press release.

“South Carolina is a crucial part of our strategy to power next generation electric vehicles for customers across the U.S. by manufacturing high-performance, longer-range EV batteries locally,” AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said in Tuesday’s announcement.

Japan-based AESC has been expanding its footprint in the U.S. to support other EV makers in addition to BMW. In September, the company announced its battery cell gigafactory in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was on track to open early next year. The 30 gigawatts hour plant will produce battery cells and modules that’ll power EVs for multiple auto makers, according to the September 2023 press release.

AESC is also adding its own suppliers in North America. In October 2023, the battery cell maker signed a supply agreement with battery material maker Umicore.

Beginning in 2026, the company will supply AESC with cathode-active components from Umicore’s Cheonan, South Korea, factory. AESC will then receive additional supplies from Umicore’s Ontario, Canada facility, which is currently under construction.



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