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Governor Mum On Samsung Battery Plant Progress

J.B. Pritzker closeup
Amr Alfiky
Gov. JB Pritzker

State incentives would be needed to secure a $1 billion Samsung electric vehicle battery plant in Bloomington-Normal. And top state officials are saying little about any potential negotiations with Samsung SDI, the subsidiary of the Korean giant that deals with battery technology.

A location west of the Rivian plant in Normal is reportedly one of three finalists for the company's second U.S. electric vehicle battery facility. The first is located in Auburn Hills, Mich.

During an appearance Monday in Peoria, Gov. JB Pritzker glided right by a reporter's question about whether Illinois is still in the running for the plant.

"We're working with all comers. You have heard the name Samsung. It's very important to us to make sure we are inviting companies to be part of the massive expansion we are engaging in for electric vehicle manufacturing and all of the suppliers," said Pritzker.

The Samsung plant could potentially employ about 3,200 workers, officials have told WGLT.

"I am hopeful that as we have over the last several months, we'll be making announcements over the next several," said Pritzker.

Samsung SDI is one of the six companies that produce most of the world's electric vehicle batteries.

The company already has a partnership with Rivian, though some trade publications indicate Rivian is seeking to develop its own battery production capacity. The tech outlets indicate the task is formidable and Rivian is not likely to begin producing batteries soon.

Stellantis, the world's fourth largest auto group that includes Jeep and Fiat, also has talked with Samsung. Stellantis has unveiled a plan to build a battery factory in north America as well.

Samsung SDI may set up a joint venture with either of the auto makers (Rivian or Stellantis) or set up a battery cell plant independently. The company has maintained that it is "reviewing multiple possibilities," according to the Korea Times.

The International Energy Agency predicts there will be 145 million electric vehicles on the world's roads in 2030. There were 3 million last year, the agency said.

Samsung SDI announced second-quarter operating revenue of more than $2.5 billion and $248.4 million in profit. That is the highest quarterly revenue of all time, according to the company's website.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.