Japan-based Envision AESC will plow $810 million into a new South Carolina battery factory to supply BMW Group's next-generation electric vehicles.
The planned 1.5-million-square-foot factory in Florence, South Carolina, will initially create 1,170 jobs and have an annual capacity of up to 30 gigawatt hours, the company said Tuesday. That volume can supply enough batteries for 300,000 EVs annually, according to AutoForecast Solutions.
The new plant will produce BMW's new energy-dense Gen 6 lithium ion cell.
The South Carolina investment is "another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S.," Envision AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto said in a statement.
The investment is the latest in an ever-expanding constellation of battery factories in the southeast U.S. but also a critical weapon in BMW's U.S. manufacturing expansion.
The automaker is undertaking a $1 billion retrofit of its Spartanburg plant, the largest BMW assembly plant in the world. It also will build a $700 million battery-pack assembly plant in nearby Woodruff, South Carolina.
By 2030, BMW intends to produce at least six electric models in Spartanburg, 190 miles (306 km) northwest of the new AESC battery venture.
Spartanburg will increase its total square footage by about a third, and annual production capacity will rise from about 180,000 vehicles currently to 290,000 following the investment. Retooling will begin in 2024 and the first new vehicles will start production in 2025.
BMW's investments position its vehicles to qualify for some of the $7,500 federal EV tax credit under the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act, which incentivizes U.S. manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries.