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Kore Power raises $75M to build lithium-ion battery cells in Arizona

Federal tax credits and incentives are driving a boom in U.S. battery manufacturing. This U.S.-based battery maker wants in.
By Jeff St. John

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An artist’s rendering of KORE Power’s planned lithium-ion battery cell ‘gigafactory’ in Arizona.
An artist’s rendering of Kore Power’s planned lithium-ion battery cell "gigafactory" in Arizona (Kore Power)

Lithium-ion battery manufacturing is booming in the United States — and not just for electric-vehicle batteries produced by automakers teamed up with Asian battery firms.

On Wednesday, Kore Power, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, announced it has raised about $75 million of a planned $150 million investment round. The funding will allow the company to start building its KOREPlex Gigafactory” in Arizona, where it intends to produce up to 6 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery cells per year when it starts running in 2024.

Kore is a rare instance of a U.S.-based company that’s making its own lithium-ion battery cells, as opposed to a U.S.-based joint venture involving leading Chinese, South Korean or Japanese battery firms. 

Those Asian companies have been central to the multibillion-dollar battery-factory investments in the U.S. announced in the past year, including:

Investment in U.S. battery manufacturing has surged since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year and the Inflation Reduction Act this summer. Both laws direct tens of billions of dollars of federal grants, tax incentives and other forms of support toward batteries made in the U.S. Think tank Third Way has tracked 17 major EV-battery manufacturing investment announcements since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed, as shown in the following map.

Kore’s new investment is relatively small compared to these large-scale expansion plans for EV-battery manufacturing. And it’s modest compared to plans by Michigan-based Our Next Energy, a competing U.S.-based battery-cell manufacturer, to invest $1.6 billion in a battery-manufacturing campus in its home state.

Kore’s most recent fundraising round was led by Siemens Financial Services and joined by Quanta Services with additional strategic partners including Nidec Motor Corp., Honeywell Ventures, Trog Hawley Capital and an unnamed leading utility-scale energy storage provider.”

Kore CEO Lindsay Gorrill told Canary Media in August that the company’s U.S.-produced battery cells will be cost-competitive with any products from overseas” thanks to federal tax credits and incentives, a growing supply of domestically produced components, and lower costs for transporting products to U.S.-based customers. 

The U.S. government is focused on helping to build out not just our industry, but other industries and the broader supply chain,” he said. Kore makes battery cells in China today, but it has pledged to expand U.S. production to an eventual 12 gigawatt-hours of annual capacity. 

The company has also been inking deals to supply its Arizona factory with battery materials produced in the U.S., like its partnership with U.S.-based Novonix, which produces materials for graphite battery anodes, announced last January. That’s something many other battery makers are striving to do because the Inflation Reduction Act’s EV tax credits require car batteries to be made with certain amounts of domestically produced content.

Kore isn’t primarily focused on EVs, although it does plan to supply its battery cells to electric-drivetrain startup ZEVX and potentially to other automakers. It’s also aiming at the stationary-storage market, another market segment that has received a significant boost from tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. In March, Kore acquired Northern Reliability, a storage-system integrator and developer that it has renamed Kore Solutions, to serve these markets.

Kore Power hasn’t revealed how much it will cost to bring the Arizona facility to full production in 2024. Gorrill told Canary that the company was working with investors to raise the equity and debt financing needed to start construction, and has been lining up prospective customers of its U.S.-made battery cells. 

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Jeff St. John is director of news and special projects at Canary Media. He covers innovative grid technologies, rooftop solar and batteries, clean hydrogen, EV charging and more.