Deere picks North Carolina for battery plant

New factory to be home of battery, charger production

North Carolina Deere has selected the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina for a new Kreisel battery factory. (Illustration: Deere & Co.)

Deere & Company has selected Kernersville, N.C., for the construction of a 115,000 sq. ft. factory. The facility is expected to expand production capacity of Kreisel Electric products. John Deere acquired majority ownership of Kreisel in 2022. It produces battery technology for e-mobility and stationary systems as well as Level 3 charging solutions.

As planned, the production facility will be able to support a production capacity of up to 2 GWh. John Deere said it plans to break ground on the new facility in fall 2023, and production is estimated to begin in 2025.

“Our customers are facing challenges that require their businesses to be more dynamic than ever before — we are engineering the technological innovations they’ll rely on to do so,” said Jennifer Preston, global director of John Deere Electric Powertrain and CEO of Kreisel. “Together with Kreisel, John Deere is expanding its electrification portfolio to include more scalable solutions to meet a wider range of our customers’ application needs. This investment is a great step forward as we work toward our goal of demonstrating viable low- and near-zero-carbon power solutions by 2026.”

The facility is expected to support a production capacity increase to serve the off-highway market in North America. John Deere is also upfitting a facility to enable battery production at its factory in Saran, France — the primary manufacturing location for John Deere engines in Europe. The Kernersville-based facility is expected to have a non-fossil-fuel-consuming design and is prioritizing sustainable energy features in major systems such as the facility’s HVAC, energy recovery system, state-of-the-art lighting and irrigation control.

lithium ion battery John Deere acquired majority ownership of battery maker Kreisel in 2022. (Photo: Deere & Co.)

“As the demand for electric solutions continues to increase, this strategic investment in growing our production capacity will help strengthen our position as an international battery technology leader. Within the evolving off-highway equipment market, we are prioritizing the development of a robust charging ecosystem and battery portfolio that can support and sustain the long-term adoption of electrification across a wide variety of applications,” said Pierre Guyot, senior vice president of John Deere Power Systems and chairman of Kreisel.

John Deere said it has a rich history in the community of Kernersville that began with the creation of its Kernersville campus in 1988, where the company builds Deere-branded excavators. The town provides access to a diverse pool of technical talent from local trade and academic institutions and is well-connected to infrastructure, including highways, seaports, and airports.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company during its site evaluation and decision-making process. The next phases of the development of the facility and construction timelines are subject to additional regulatory approval.

“The addition of this John Deere battery facility aligns with our county’s efforts to be a leader in advanced manufacturing throughout the Southeast,” said Mark Owens, president and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem Inc. — an organization promoting business growth and sustainability in the metropolitan area of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. “We are proud to support employers in this sector as the field develops with new technologies and innovations. In turn, we appreciate the commitment of our existing employers that continue to invest here and grow the workforce.”

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