South Carolina has multiple plans to ensure strong electric vehicle (EV) investment across the state. A new executive order signed by Gov. Henry McMaster prioritizes building EV infrastructure and training workers for new clean energy jobs. The funding and support have already led auto manufacturers, such as BMW and Scout Motors, to the Palmetto State, where each plans to increase its EV production.
According to EDF’s and WSP’s U.S. Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Investments and Jobs report, South Carolina has received nearly $9 billion in EV investments over the past eight years. This investment boost has already created more than 10,000 new jobs.
“The only way South Carolina has been able to maintain its status as an automotive industry leader for nearly three decades is by strategically adapting as the industry innovates,” Gov. McMaster said in a statement. “As the industry continues to move towards electric vehicles, South Carolina will move along with it — working to ensure that our state will continue to be seen as the ideal place for manufacturers and suppliers to do business. Along with these investments comes good-paying jobs that our people will be ready to take on.”
Photo Courtesy BMWGroup
One of the largest new facilities comes from Scout Motors, owned by Volkswagen. Scout will open a $2 billion electric truck and SUV manufacturing plant outside the state capitol Columbia.
This new facility will create at least 4,000 jobs and is set to begin production at the end of 2026.
The hope is that Scout will build at least 200,000 vehicles a year for domestic sales and global export.
“Scout Motors is very proud to call South Carolina home,” a Scout Motors company spokesperson told The Business Download: Clean Energy. “We selected this site for many reasons, but the most important factor is the people. We weren’t looking for a place to just build a factory; we wanted to join a community of people and bring a positive impact to them and the surrounding areas.”
The company was drawn to the state’s leadership in the automobile industry, its track record of success with advanced manufacturing, and the job pool in the area.
“Our Columbia-area location is central to major highways, several ports, and numerous talent hubs. And the state’s focus on developing talent is impressive,” the spokesperson continued.
“Whether it’s engineering programs at Clemson or the University of South Carolina, the pipeline of graduates produced through the technical college system, or direct training of production labor, we will have top talent producing Scout vehicles in the state.”
Photo Courtesy Scout Motors
Scout is counting on the brand’s name to drive consumers to its new all-electric trucks and SUV, which it says are “rooted in the same tradition that made the original Scout an American icon.”
Though the original Scout ended production four decades ago, it is one of the most popular enthusiast cars in America.
“Like with classic Scouts, the new era of Scout will also emphasize off-road prowess and rugged capability,” the spokesperson said. “All new Scout Motors vehicles will be offered with electric powertrains that push vehicle capability and performance into the future.”
“As seen in the first teaser images, the new all-electric models show the Scout Motors concept sporting a strong stance and upright posture reminiscent of classic Scout models,” the spokesperson continued. “Scout products will honor its heritage while injecting fresh American ingenuity to create a new era of iconic all-purpose vehicles.”
The Scout facility is expected to have a $4.2 billion annual economic impact on South Carolina.
Photo Courtesy BMWGroup
BMW has also announced plans to start making six fully-electric EVs at its already-existing Spartanburg plant.
It will also build a new battery assembly facility nearby in partnership with Envision AESC. The new facility will create at least 300 new jobs.
“This is a very important step for Plant Spartanburg as we continue our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles and build on the success of the last 30 years,” Robert Engelhorn, BMW CEO, said in a press release. “With this latest investment, we future-proof our operations and prepare the plant for electrification and new technologies, ensuring both the long-term success of our company and our position as an attractive and viable employer in the state of South Carolina.”