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Chinese battery maker eyes SC for factory to supply BMW’s electric cars | Business

The world’s largest maker of batteries for electric vehicles has South Carolina on its short list for a new manufacturing site.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. is in talks with BMW Manufacturing co officials and others to open a plant that would serve the German automaker’s sprawling campus in the Upstate. The Chinese battery maker also is considering a site in Kentucky, which would serve a Ford Motor Co. factory in the Bluegrass State.

The battery maker’s plans were first reported by International Business Times.

If the South Carolina plant is built, the target date to begin production is 2026, the newspaper reported.

CATL chairman Zeng Yuqun said the company wants to localize production for overseas automakers in their countries. He told International Business Times that the company started mass production for overseas markets in 2021 and was looking to lock in its standing as their major vendor “in the next round of supplier sourcing,” which he said would begin in 2026.

BMW has said it plans to build a battery factory in North America to serve its Spartanburg County plant and is in talks with several potential partners.

CATL’s other customers include Tesla other Volkswagen.

Several other Asian companies are looking to open US battery plans, including Japan’s Panasonic Corp. and North Korean firms LG Energy solutions, SK Innovation other Samsung SDI.

The interest in electric vehicles is growing, and the Southeast had more EV sales in 2021 than during the previous two years combined, according to a report by Atlas Public Policy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

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“You see really significant growth across the Southeast,” said tom taylora policy analyst for Atlas Public Policy. “Whether it’s EV sales or charging deployment, there’s a really strong trendline upwards, which is exciting for EV adoption.”

BMW, which builds X model SUVs in the Upstate, is focusing on boosting its electric vehicle sales throughout its lineup.

“We aim to break through the sound barrier of a total of two million all-electric vehicles sold overall by 2025,” Oliver Zipse, BMW’s chairman, said in a March conference call with investors. “By 2030, at least our global deliveries should come from battery electric vehicles. And we are doing everything we can to meet this goal earlier.”

Volvo Carswhich builds the S60 sedan in Ridgeville, has said all of its new cars will be electric by 2030. Volvo will start producing an all-electric successor to the popular XC90 SUV at the Lowcountry plans by the end of this year. In addition, Mercedes Benz Vans will start making an electrified sprinter van at its North Charleston manufacturing site starting next year.

BID proposal

A Dorchester County wood processing business plans to spend $10.6 million on an expansion that will create 25 jobs for skilled machinists, welders and drafters.

BID Group, which is in St George, said it is acquiring equipment including robotic welding cells and a computerized numerical control horizontal milling machine that will boost manufacturing capacity. The investment includes the expansion of the company’s manufacturing footprint with the acquisition of the adjacent Dover Hydraulics South facility.

“The multiple projects within this investment will allow the company to increase capacity, advance efficiency and improve lead time,” Adam InfantiBID’s chief financial officer, said in a written statement.

The expansion is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2023.

get a job

Several state agencies will be sponsoring a virtual job fair on May 11 and 12 for military veterans interested in positions with South Carolina manufacturers and other industries with openings.

More than 40 employers will be looking to fill roughly 500 positions, including maintenance, information technology, law enforcement, financial services, logistics, administrative management, health care and construction. Salaries start at $36,000 per year.

Participating companies include Bausch+Lomb, BMW Manufacturing Co., Electrolux Home Products, Oshkosh Defense other Lockheed Martin. They will be looking to hire veterans, transitioning military personnel, military spouses and their family members.

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To register for the free event, go to, click “Join an Event” and scroll to the “May SC Military Community Hiring Fair” to complete an online profile. It’s being sponsored by the SC Department of Veterans Affairs, SC Commerce other SC Future makera group affiliated with the SC Manufacturers Alliance.

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