SK Siltron’s U.S. Unit Plans $ 300 Million Investment in Michigan to Support Electric Vehicle Growth
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. unit of SK Siltron will announce on Wednesday plans to invest $ 300 million in Michigan to expand its silicon carbide wafer manufacturing and create 150 jobs to support U.S. vehicle production electrics, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.
The investment announcement comes as U.S. automakers are spending tens of billions of dollars to increase production of electric vehicles and the Biden administration has requested $ 174 billion in funding to expand subsidies to electric vehicles and charging networks.
The investment is the latest sign that electric vehicle suppliers are moving production closer to their biggest customers in anticipation of surging demand as automakers move away from internal combustion vehicles.
SK Siltron CSS, a unit of SK Siltron, a global producer of semiconductor wafers based in South Korea, said the investment over the next three years would more than double the company’s workforce in Michigan and would add a new 140,000 square foot site in Bay City, Michigan, to join its current facility in nearby Auburn, Michigan.
SK Siltron CSS chief executive Jianwei Dong told Reuters that the $ 300 million investment “would help develop a Michigan-based national electric vehicle supply chain, as we have our end customers in them. neighboring communities ”. The investment “will help electric vehicles go further and recharge faster.”
The company is working to expand rapidly to meet the growing needs. “Right now, we are seeing strong demand from customers,” Dong said, adding that the company is considering further investment and the wafers can also be used in 5G communication equipment.
SK Siltron CSS manufactures silicon carbide wafers used in semiconductor power components.
In electric vehicles, the wafers allow more efficient transfer of electricity from the battery to the engine, increasing range by 5-10%, the company said. They can also reduce charge times, ease cooling requirements, and reduce the size and weight of the power module.
Some studies suggest that the switch to electric vehicles will require fewer workers because electric vehicles are mechanically simpler. It is not known how many EV parts will be made in the United States.
“As we build a more sustainable future, it is important that we create robust new supply chains in the United States to support our businesses and the end consumer,” said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a press release welcoming the investment of SK Siltron CSS.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation said the state is working to attract jobs related to electric vehicles. Over the past two years, Michigan has seen nearly $ 9 billion in planned investments and more than 10,000 jobs created as part of the transition to electric vehicles.
The SK Siltron CSS extension is still pending national and local approvals, the company said.
SK Siltron is part of the SK group. SK Innovation, another subsidiary of the SK Group, announced in May that it was forming a battery joint venture with Ford Motor Co to support the electric vehicle deployment of the No.2 U.S. automaker. SK Innovation is separately building a $ 2.6 billion battery cell plant in Georgia to serve Ford and Volkswagen AG (Report by David Shepardson. Editing by Gerry Doyle)