Stellantis executive says Michigan ‘absolutely’ in contention for EV plant

Industry

Michigan remains in contention for a new Stellantis electric vehicle battery plant as the automaker completes the final analysis before an anticipated announcement of a site.

Stellantis COO Mark Stewart said Thursday that the state “absolutely” could be home to a new plant and that it has a “great working relationship” with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and utility DTE Energy Co., which can leverage incentives and electricity rates — two key considerations for automakers searching for EV plant sites.

“We’re still in discussions with Michigan as well as other states,” Stewart told reporters after a media event in Detroit celebrating the opening of a plant by Stellantis supplier Dakkota Integrated Systems. “Still going through all of the site selection.

“We are in the final stages of going through the analysis, and so I would hope within the next month, two months maximum, we should be able to be at a position to (announce),” Stewart added.

He declined to specify which sites in Michigan are being considered or how many other states are in play.

“We need two, possibly three plants in North America,” Stewart said of the necessary capacity for the company to reach its EV production targets. “We need to speed up, by the way. We need to be shoveling ground in some location.”

Last month, Stellantis announced a new $4 billion plant will be built in Windsor, marking the largest single automotive investment in Canadian history and a major victory for Detroit’s bridge-linked neighbor. The project, a joint venture with South Korea-based LG Energy Solutions, is expected to create thousands of jobs.

Since losing out on Ford Motor Co.’s massive EV plants to the South, Michigan and its economic development arm have been scrambling to set up funding mechanisms to prep land for site development and attract big investments. An EV plant is a foothold in the future of the automotive industry and a major source of jobs for years to come, officials have said.

“The sense of urgency on this is these investments are occurring at a great rate to meet those 2030 production goals,” Steve Bakkal, senior vice president of strategy, planning and external affairs at the MEDC told Crain’s Detroit Business, an Automotive News affiliate, in an interview last month.

“Absolutely it’s urgent for us because this isn’t just an investment into an existing assembly plant or existing ICE plant. These are new opportunities.”

Asked by a reporter if an affinity for Detroit has him rooting for Michigan to win Stellantis’ business, Stewart — who recently purchased the Fisher Mansion in Detroit — said: “Absolutely, but I root for every community that we have a presence in.

“This is our home,” Stewart added. “This is our home for Jeep. This is our home for Ram. And so, what better way to show that support than finding ways to keep growing in this community, as well as our other communities around the country and around the globe … but yes, I love Detroit.”

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