Scout Motors breaks ground on $2B EV plant after environmental delays

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Dive Brief:

  • Scout Motors, a Tysons, Virginia-based automotive company and subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, broke ground recently on its $2 billion electric vehicle plant in Blythewood, South Carolina, after a roughly three-month hiatus, according to the company. The facility will produce about 200,000 all-electric trucks and SUVs each year.
  • Concerns from environmental groups and state and federal agencies around wetland development caused project teams to halt construction in the fall of 2023 while permitting moved forward, according to a statement shared with Construction Dive. 
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted approval in January for the project to proceed, contingent upon Scout Motors’ commitment to wetland preservation efforts elsewhere in the state. The automotive company has yet to disclose the general contractor for the project.

Dive Insight:

While the manufacturing construction boom has shown signs of fading, most contractors in the space have remained largely unfazed.

The recent EV pullback from automakers has sparked concern about its potential impact on manufacturing construction momentum. However, builders maintain confidence in an anticipated surge in activity this year. In fact, manufacturing starts have already shown some signs of a bounce this year, jumping 26% in January, according to Dodge Construction Network. 

While some heavyweight projects in the sector, such as TSMC’s $40 billion venture in Arizona or Intel’s $20 billion chip factory in Ohio, encountered delays due to funding or labor issues, other billion-dollar sites are finally getting shovels in the ground. Those include the $5.5 billion Texas Instruments fabrication plant in Lehi, Utah and the $1 billion BlueOval battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, in addition to Scout Motors’ plant.

Scout Motors’ South Carolina site spans approximately 1,600 acres, with the plant itself occupying about 1,100 acres, according to the release. The project sits less than 20 miles north of Columbia, South Carolina, and near major cities and talent hubs such as Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Scout Motors expects production to begin at the factory by the end of 2026, and plans to start selling the trucks and SUVs soon thereafter, according to the release. 

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