U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks to members of the media at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks to members of the media at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. New Energy Vehicle Professional Training Room
(The Center Square) — The state of South Carolina has approved $70 million in incentives that it will bond out for toward a new $1.7 billion investment from BMW toward electric vehicle manufacturing at its Spartanburg plant and a high-voltage battery assembly facility in Woodruff.
The incentives were approved at a Tuesday meeting of the State Fiscal Accountability Authority under the name Project Samurai. The state plans to spend $21 million toward road improvements, $20.2 million toward sewer infrastructure, $15 million toward training facilities, $12.1 million toward water infrastructure and $1.6 million will go to a contingency fund.
A press release announcing the plan said that South Carolina's Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded a $65 million Closing Fund grant to Spartanburg County to assist with costs related to the project.
It is unclear if the incentives are related and multiple attempts to reach Brian Symmes at the South Carolina Governor's Press Office for clarification did not receive a response.
The BMW Group plans to put $1 billion in its Spartanburg plant and $700 million into the Woodruff facility. The company says it will produce at least six fully electric BMW X vehicles in Spartanburg by 2030.
"That means: The 'Home of the X' is also becoming the 'Home of the Battery Electric Vehicle'," BMW Group Chairman of the Board of Management, Oliver Zipse said on Wednesday. "In addition, we can showcase BMW Group's 'local for local' principle: Our newly developed sixth generation battery cells, which were specifically designed for the next generation NEUE KLASSE electric vehicles, will be sourced here in South Carolina – where X goes electric."
BMW will also partner with Envision AESC, which will build a separate new battery cell factory in South Carolina, to supply Plant Spartanburg. The details surrounding Envision's South Carolina operations were not released.
Envision will produce lithium-ion battery cells which it says were specifically designed for the next generation Neue Klasse electric vehicles. The company said the new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20%, improve charging speed by up to 30% and enhance range by up to 30%.
"BMW's sustained and impactful presence in South Carolina demonstrates the power of partnership and shared commitment to our state's automotive industry success. With today's announcement of a $1 billion expansion to Plant Spartanburg for manufacturing electric vehicles as well as $700 million for a new plant in Woodruff to assemble battery units, the road to the future is here. And I applaud BMW on helping lead the way," said Gov. Henry McMaster.
Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.
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