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Electric truck maker with presence in Goodyear partners to make battery cells in the US

Phoenix Business Journal

Daimler Truck, the German company that makes electric big rigs for the U.S. market in Portland, Oregon, and has a parts distribution center in Goodyear, is in a new joint venture to manufacture battery cells in the United States.

Daimler and partners Cummins (NYSE: CMI) and Paccar (Nasdaq: PCAR) said they expect to invest $2 billion to $3 billion into the Accelera joint venture, which will supply cells for electric commercial vehicles and industrial applications.

Each party will hold a 30% stake in the venture. Technology partner EVE Energy, a Chinese cell manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in Ohio, will own the remaining 10%.

Indiana-based Cummins and Bellevue, Washington-based Paccar and Daimler are “considering anywhere in the U.S.” for the planned 21-gigawatt battery factory, Jon Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, told the Phoenix Business Journal on Wednesday.

“We have not selected a site but expect to do so within the next six months,” Mills said.

The companies did not respond to an additional request for comment on whether Arizona was on its radar for the proposed battery cell plant.

The move follows a trend of investment in battery manufacturing by transportation OEMs that are transitioning to electric locomotion.

“This strategic joint venture enables its owners to create the necessary scale for access to cost effective and differentiated battery cell technology, ultimately creating value for commercial vehicle customers in North America,” the partners said in an announcement.

More on Arizona’s EV, battery scene

The Valley has become somewhat of a hotspot for electric battery facility investment in recent years.

South Korean battery giant LG Energy Solution is planning a 1.4 million-square-foot battery plant in Queen Creek that’s expected to create 4,000 jobs.

LG’s project, which is expected to break ground this year, will consist of a $3.2 billion cylindrical battery manufacturing facility for electric vehicles with a capacity of 27 gigawatt hours and a $2.3 billion lithium-iron phosphate pouch-type battery plant for energy storage systems with a capacity of 16 gigawatt hours.

And earlier this summer, KORE Power said it had secured a conditional commitment from the federal government for an $850 million loan through the Department of Energy to support construction of the 2 million-square-foot KOREPlex in Buckeye that will house several production lines to manufacture batteries for EV and energy storage systems in the U.S. The facility is expected to create 1,250 jobs and deliver products by late 2024 or early 2025.

What’s more, American Battery Factory selected Tucson as the site of its corporate headquarters and planned 2 million square foot gigafactory, which will become the largest in the country. The company will produce lithium iron phosphate battery cells at the factory.

Arizona also ranked No. 9 among states for the largest number of clean energy projects since the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022, according to a recent report from the national advocacy group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). The Grand Canyon State ranked No. 7 for total estimated project investment, accounting for $5.9 billion and 2,280 new jobs.

The historic growth of clean tech and mobility innovation in Greater Phoenix has positioned the region as a West Coast leader in next-generation battery technology and electric vehicle development, Chris Camacho, president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council, told the Business Journal.

“We’ve seen numerous companies choose Greater Phoenix thanks to policies that support EV and clean tech innovation, including Exro, KORE Power and LG Energy Solution,” Camacho said Wednesday. “The region’s competitive operating costs, reliable infrastructure, a robust supply chain and longstanding automotive R&D ecosystem which creates a diverse talent pipeline is attractive to the industry and would support a joint venture such as this.”

Daimler’s plans for growth

John O’Leary, CEO of Portland-headquartered Daimler Truck North America, told the Business Journal earlier this year that Daimler had “work underway to try to get into that space.”

Daimler is also in a U.S. joint venture — with NextEra Energy Resources and BlackRock Alternatives — to build electric truck charging stations.

The company has been in the news recently in Portland as it contemplates a $40 million expansion of its zero-emissions-vehicle research and development. Portland City Council last week backed a measure that would pave the way for $2.4 million in property tax savings for the company if it builds a new facility in Portland.

Daimler could put that facility in South Carolina, where it has its largest manufacturing operations, or in Detroit, a company official told Council.


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