South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate plans to redevelop a Plano building into a new EV charger manufacturing facility that will create up to 183 jobs by 2026.
SK Signet expects the project to produce the first U.S.-made ultra-fast chargers above 350 kilowatts. The company is planning for the 136,200-square-foot facility to be operating at full capacity by July 2023, producing more than 10,000 EV fast chargers a year. It plans to hire 80 employees next year and ramp up to 183 by the end of 2026.
SK Signet plans to invest $24.2 million in the facility at 4101 E. Plano Parkway, which formerly housed Raytheon, according to city records.
This will be SK Signet’s first U.S. manufacturing facility, which will be supported by its existing U.S. office in McLean, Va. The company had been looking for the right U.S. city since January before landing on Plano, said Seung-June Oh, president of SK Signet America. The city is providing a $975,000 incentive to SK.
“The biggest reason we chose Plano was the access to the skilled workforce,” Oh said. “But also Texas is a major potential market for EV growth.”
The company hopes its fast chargers, which can give an EV enough charge to go 100 miles after 5 minutes, will attract more people to switch from traditional gas-powered cars, he said.
SK Group, which owns companies in the semiconductor, energy and life sciences industries, bought 55.5% of Signet EV’s shares in April 2021 for $263 million. It relaunched the company, founded in 2016, under the new name SK Signet this July, saying it was prepping for global expansion of its EV chargers.
“The [acquisition] was quite meaningful because Signet EV was a very small startup, I would say, and now it’s transforming into a much bigger company with support from SK Group,” Oh said.
SK Signet’s website said it has more than 21,000 EV chargers in use worldwide, including about 5,850 in North America and about 14,700 in Korea. The chargers aren’t personal ones for peoples’ homes but are instead for charge point operators and other major customers.
The company said the Plano facility will align with the goals of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which allocated $7.5 billion to build a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers, as well as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, which approved $5 billion to help build the U.S. EV charging network.
Texas, which has about 157,000 electric vehicles, including more than 7,000 in Dallas, is getting $408 million over the next five years from the national infrastructure program, which is the most of any state. The state plans to use $147 million through 2023 to build 55 charging stations on Texas highways.
SK Signet will work with charge point operators and other customers who receive federal funding to supply them with chargers, Oh said.
Its Texas facility is the second EV charging manufacturing facility to be unveiled in Dallas-Fort Worth in recent weeks. Last month, Barcelona-based Wallbox opened its first North American facility in Arlington. The 130,000-square-foot factory is expected to produce over one million units by 2030.
Wallbox, whose North American headquarters are in Mountain View, Calif., said the facility is a $7 million project that is expected to bring 250 jobs to the city by 2025 and about 700 jobs by 2030.
“Today, only 3% of the chargers required globally for the next decade have been installed, showing the magnitude of the need for innovative and reliable charging solutions,” Enric Asunción, CEO of Wallbox, said in the announcement.