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South Carolina EV Battery Plant Gets Another Round Of Incentives

Photo Courtesy AESC

South Carolina has a well-earned reputation for luring electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy projects to the state, partly by rolling out incentives to companies that locate or expand facilities there. It happened again in late 2023 when the S.C. Joint Bond Review Committee approved more than $50 million in new financial incentives for an EV battery factory already being built by AESC Group.

The project was first announced in December 2022 and initially involved an $810 million investment from AESC to build a 1.5 million-square-foot “gigafactory” in Florence, South Carolina. The facility will make cells for batteries used in next-generation EV models produced at the BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, located a couple hours west of Florence.

Photo Courtesy BMW Group

According to a December 2022 press release from Governor Henry McMaster’s office, the original investment aimed to create 1,170 new jobs. But that figure was upped to 1,620 jobs following the latest round of incentives.

The new incentives, announced on Dec. 12, 2023, came on top of a $70 million incentive approved when AESC’s Florence project was originally unveiled, The Post and Courier reported. The additional bond financing will help pay for new roads, a worker training center, water and sewer infrastructure, and underground building support structures. The Florence County Council also agreed to put $5 million toward the project for infrastructure improvements.

“These commitments are going where they know they can have the strongest return on investment for the company,” Gregg Robinson, Florence County Economic Development Partnership CEO, told The Post and Courier. “And in turn, we do as well.”

Photo Courtesy BMW Group

With the additional incentives, AESC agreed to increase its financial commitment to more than $1.6 billion — double what it originally announced only a year earlier. That added to what was already the biggest economic development deal in county history, according to The Post and Courier.

“This investment is truly commendable and will significantly contribute to the vitality of our local economy,” Willard Dorriety, Florence County Council chairman, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with AESC in the years to come.” 

The factory is already under construction at the Florence Global Technology and Commerce Park. Mass production of battery cells is expected to begin around late 2025 or early 2026.

AESC began construction on the plant in June 2023 following a groundbreaking ceremony attended by AESC U.S. Managing Director Jeff Deaton, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, S.C. Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey, and various local officials. 

“The groundbreaking for AESC’s battery cell gigafactory is a landmark moment in the evolution of South Carolina’s rapidly expanding electric vehicle industry,” McMaster said at the June ceremony. 

Photo Courtesy BMW Group

The new 30 gigawatt hours (GWh)-battery plant adds to AESC’s existing battery manufacturing network and includes an operating factory in Tennessee and another facility under construction in Kentucky. When they are all up and running, AESC’s combined U.S. plants will provide up to 70 GWh capacity per year, “powering the shift to electric vehicles with U.S.-made batteries and components,” according to a June 2023 press release. 

The Florence site aligns with AESC’s multi-year partnership with BMW Group, which was announced in October 2022. The company’s advanced battery format will result in 20% higher energy density than the current versions, reducing charging time and increasing range and efficiency by 30%. The plant will be 100% powered by clean energy, AESC said.“This facility is another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S. and strengthens our commitment to grow the electrification supply chain while providing high-value jobs for the community for years to come,” Shoichi Matsumoto, AESC Group CEO, said in a 2022 statement. “We are making good progress on our ambition to create high-performance, longer-range batteries for a diverse range of automotive manufacturers worldwide to support the EV transition.”


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