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Samsung chooses Indiana for EV battery plant

Samsung is the largest employer and premier place to work in South Korea.
Jung Yeon-je
/
AFP/Getty Images
Samsung’s choice of Indiana over Illinois comes six months after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a tax incentives package that state lawmakers hoped would help Illinois become a manufacturing hub for the budding electric vehicle industry.

Bloomington-Normal won’t be getting that Samsung EV battery plant after all.

Samsung and automaker Stellantis announced this week they’re building a battery plant in Kokomo, Indiana, about an hour north of Indianapolis. The $2.5 billion factory is expected to begin production in 2025 and create about 1,500 jobs.

The announcement caps nine months of speculation about whether Normal would land a Samsung EV plant. Sen. Dick Durbin let it slip in August 2021 that Normal was a finalist for a Samsung plant, to be built near the Rivian auto plant. Samsung was already Rivian’s battery cell supplier, and Rivian was looking to guarantee a long-term supply of batteries for its growing EV business.

But hopes faded over time, and local officials said in January that they hadn’t heard anything about Samsung’s plans in the months since.

One of those officials, Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council chief Patrick Hoban, referenced Samsung’s Indiana decision during Wednesday’s Unit 5 school board meeting. He was touting a collaborative effort to create a standardized economic incentive package for businesses for a local enterprise zone.

Wooing businesses to a community is a highly competitive process, he said, mentioning the Twin Cities recent attempt to land Samsung.

"It’s becoming more and more difficult to land deals,” Hoban said.

Samsung’s choice of Indiana over Illinois comes six months after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a tax incentives package that state lawmakers hoped would help Illinois become a manufacturing hub for the budding electric vehicle industry.

Meanwhile, Crain’s Chicago Business reported this week that Illinois “is in the hunt for another factory that would be built by a different Asian producer to serve Stellantis and Rivian’s downstate plant, insiders say.” WGLT has not confirmed that report.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
Michele Steinbacher is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the staff in 2020.
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