Smart Mobility Training Center

SSOE was selected to design a new, state-of-the-art training center for the Electric Vehicle (EV) market. The center, a collaboration between Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai), The Technical College System of Georgia (TSCG), and Georgia Quick Start, is located adjacent to the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) facility and is poised to train the next generation of EV experts and innovators. Helping to solidify Georgia’s position as a national leader in EV manufacturing, the facility will support Hyundai’s first dedicated Electric Vehicle mass-production plant in the U.S. and promote Hyundai’s vision of becoming a global smart mobility solution provider.

Quick Start, a division of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) is Georgia’s internationally acclaimed workforce training program. SSOE and its partners designed the innovative 90,000 SF training center to further Quick Start’s mission by providing spaces that are highly functional, adaptable, and supportive of a dynamic organization, built on 50 years of experience, with a nurturing team-oriented culture.

The training center will feature technologies such as CAD, BIM, and virtual reality as well as classrooms, technical labs, and high-bay spaces. The space will contain manufacturing-scale training simulations incorporating robotics, mechatronics, welding, motors, and other advanced manufacturing technologies to simulate the EV production environment and prepare the trainees for success.

SSOE applied its expertise and experience in the EV market to deliver a cost-effective, high-quality solution for the client. The building is anchored by respecting the site’s geometry and the HMGMA factory context. Transitioning between the landscape architecture and the building are two courtyards of two distinct characters. The north courtyard serves as the main entrance to the facility and is active, welcoming, and dynamic, with trellis and colonnades as contemporary interpretations of the Southeast Georgia coastal vernacular. The south courtyard is intended to provide a quieter area of respite where staff and trainees can recharge and prepare for the day’s assignments.

Project completion is slated for late 2025 and will support the creation of more than 8,000 jobs in the EV industry.

Battery Manufacturing Factory Phase II

SSOE was able to identify and suggest a 1/3 reduction in overall equipment costs for Phase II— translating to nearly $1.5 million in savings for the client.

To meet growing demand, a well-known electric vehicle manufacturer formed a strategic partnership with a leading battery manufacturer to construct a factory to manufacture electric motors and battery packs. The facility is being built in two phases, with the second phase involving the installation of additional battery production lines and associated utility system upgrades. SSOE was selected to provide engineering and design services for the second phase.

This project was uniquely challenging. Merging the battery manufacturing client’s improved technology with the vehicle manufacturer’s ongoing production capacity increase in one shared facility created a need for simultaneous site and equipment upgrades. SSOE’s crossfunctional team assisted with planning all aspects of the expansion, virtually eliminating the risk of design gaps. Using this cross-functional team dramatically improved the holistic design and minimized issues in the field.

SSOE provided support for the following critical functions:

  • Utility Systems. Our team assessed system capacities, including compressed air, cooling water, dry room design alternatives, and production environment baselining. Once we understood these systems, we were able to determine which needed additions and/or modifications. Our focus then turned to the details around battery manufacturing. Beginning with raw material flow analysis, we then followed with space planning to ensure the production equipment would fit. The team confirmed that proper maintenance and utility spaces were incorporated into the design and that the equipment was in working order. SSOE also provided regeneration options for site HVAC systems and all water and water cooling systems.
  • Safety. With safety at the forefront of all projects we execute, our team provided chemical process analysis and confirmed proper permitting and certification for chemical usage in various manufacturing steps. We also ensured overhead clearances, aligned beam attachments to catwalks, and confirmed proper electrical, egress, and operational clearances. SSOE’s design assured both people and equipment could move safely throughout the facility.
  • Site Stability. SSOE’s structural team inspected site supports and analyzed how the equipment operated to ensure proper anchoring for safety and successful long-term production. Our team recognized that previous equipment installations had been insufficiently anchored, which caused damage to the slabs and cracked the foundation. We were able to mitigate these issues and provided suggestions for improvement. Additionally, SSOE partnered with both clients at the project onset to align on the optimal project approach. Through close collaboration during the construction and procurement stage and supporting the trade bid process, SSOE helped reduce overall equipment cost by about one-third of the project budget, translating to about $1.5 million in savings. With additional battery production lines slated for installation in the near future, SSOE’s practices will be replicated, with better documentation and a strong basis of information to copy, which will result in future operational savings.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Manufacturing Building

SSOE is proud to be Toyota’s engineering and design services provider for their BEV production facility on their 1,800-acre campus in Liberty, North Carolina. The new Toyota battery campus is currently in the design phase and will be constructed in phases over the next several years. This important investment for the Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina mega site further extends the 20+ year successful relationship between Toyota and SSOE.

SSOE is providing architecture, engineering, and on-site technical staff for the ambitious build, currently approximately 2.5 million SF of design is under construction. At full buildout, the project scope includes multiple BEV production lines with associated support buildings. In addition, Toyota continues to explore new energy savings opportunities for battery production at the campus in an effort to reach their long-term goal of carbon neutrality for its vehicles and operations by 2050.

Toyota’s robust campus vision includes the potential for a childcare facility, healthcare facility, and fitness center with associated outdoor sport courts. Adjacent to the team member amenities a park-like setting containing walking paths and green space is also under consideration.

Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center

Ford, our oldest client and one of America’s top electric vehicle brands, recently awarded SSOE the design of a new assembly plant—named the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center, part of Ford’s BlueOval City manufacturing complex—which resides on the West Tennessee Regional Megasite. This exciting new complex will become a vertically integrated ecosystem where Ford will assemble its next electric truck and batteries for future Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Together with Walbridge as our construction partner, we’re executing the project under a design / build contract. In addition to the 4 million SF building design, we’ve been chosen as the engineer of record for the entire site design of the 4,000-acre mega campus. Our full scope of work includes preconstruction documents and detailed engineering as well as construction administration. Our team used the most innovative technology available to provide regular updates throughout the design process, with major deliverables scheduled out in advance for reviews and contractor use.

At its peak, SSOE assembled a dedicated team of more than 60 full-time employees to support the detailed design phase of the project. A project win for SSOE in several ways, this complex will also significantly support electric vehicle production in the Southeast U.S. and create close to 6,000 new jobs in Tennessee. Groundbreaking took place in May 2022 and Ford plans to begin production at BlueOval City in 2025.

On-Site and Full Circle
Our work on the West Tennessee Regional Megasite—formerly known as the Memphis Regional Megasite—actually dates back to 2007. SSOE worked with the State of Tennessee to develop the site and provided ongoing support as potential clients evaluated it. We were also involved with water and wastewater infrastructure projects specific to the site for over a decade. Worthy of note, SSOE provided the civil design of Ford’s BlueOval roundabout, an idea we presented to the client that makes Ford’s signature emblem shape—originally used to advertise Ford as the “hallmark for reliability and economy”—visible from the air.

Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturing Campus

When Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., a Panasonic Group company, sought to build its first standalone lithium-ion battery production facility in the U.S., they knew they needed a partner with cleanroom, battery, and manufacturing experience. With SSOE’s reputation as an industry leader in the design of battery manufacturing facilities, greenfield site development expertise, and experience working with Panasonic on previous projects, they knew we could deliver their vision. SSOE was selected to provide primary engineering design and architectural design oversight.

SSOE’s involvement began at the earliest stage of the project when the firm became engaged in site evaluation efforts with Panasonic’s site selection team. We pulled together a team of architects and engineers to guide Panasonic through defining and ranking site criteria, assisting in the evaluation of multiple campus locations. In July 2022, Panasonic ultimately landed on Astra Enterprise Park (formerly the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant), originally constructed in World War II and vacant for a quarter of a century—with 300 acres and hundreds of millions of dollars in incentive packages to go with it. A win for Kansas, this is the first economic development project exceeding a billion dollars for the state and will make the location a key economic driver for the region.

In parallel with site evaluation efforts, SSOE worked with Panasonic to generate a preliminary Basis of Design with enough detail to allow the construction manager to forecast a construction estimate in a post-COVID market. From there, we’ve continued to lead the project through the preliminary design phase. To mitigate labor market and supply chain challenges, the cutting-edge nature of lithium-ion battery manufacturing requires our design team to adapt to process and usage changes driven by Panasonic’s refinement to their battery technology. SSOE continues to suggest solutions that are adaptable to future process refinements.

Designing a facility that aligns with Panasonic’s employee-centric culture is to be top of mind. The site plan limits interaction between vehicles and pedestrians through a thoughtfully designed parking layout, one-way traffic, separate truck entrance, and site-specific traffic study. Architectural design is still in progress but promises the intelligent integration of the production process into the building design and spaces throughout to specifically support employees. The U-shaped design of the production facility will frame various support structures and utility buildings that will reside behind it. The fact that Panasonic and SSOE’s cultures naturally align has streamlined the ability to communicate and deliver what they’re looking for in this facility.

With a nearly 100-year history of innovation in batteries spanning both battery cell technology and battery business operations, Panasonic continues to strengthen its lineup of automotive lithium-ion batteries and expand its production capacity. The De Soto facility, the company’s first standalone EV battery facility in the U.S., will help do just that. The Japanese-based company’s expansion in Kansas is expected to bring in a projected $2.5 billion in yearly economic activity to make it the largest economic development undertaking in the state’s history. It will also allow Panasonic to ramp up production to meet surging demand and lead the evolution of the EV industry in the U.S.

Due to the complexity of the design and size of the facility, the City of De Soto will approve its development plan one phase at a time. Panasonic broke ground on the new plant in November 2022, with production slated to begin in 2025.

EV Battery Materials Manufacturing Facility

Having started our relationship with Ascend Elements by providing site and facility evaluations (followed up by full architecture, EPC, and commissioning) for their brownfield lithium-ion battery recycling facility, SSOE continues to be a trusted project delivery partner.

While working on their first production facility together, Ascend Elements engaged SSOE to support the evaluation of two potential sites for their new greenfield megasite. SSOE performed research and provided site layout plans for each potential location.

SSOE is now working closely with Ascend Elements in the front-end loading (FEL) phase to develop a site layout to include process, packaging, warehousing, and office buildings, as well as the preliminary project schedule and execution plan. Our comprehensive multi-disciplinary A/E team for this planning and design phase includes architectural, civil, structural, process, mechanical (HVAC / plumbing), piping, electrical, instrumentation and controls, and estimating.

During this phase, we also coordinated with Ascend Elements and their process technology provider, to develop an efficient overall process design while also evaluating opportunities for engineering alternatives to drive value into their project. Working with a foreign OEM / technology provider, it was integral for SSOE to carefully evaluate the equipment and equipment design specifications to ensure compliance with all U.S. codes and standards. This entailed establishing standing coordination meetings, as well as around-the-clock BIM / CAD coordination.

SSOE was able to provide creative solutions in response to global supply chain shortages, which could ultimately impact the fast-track schedule. One solution was to utilize refurbished equipment to start up one production line while the remainder of the facility was under construction.

Positioned on 140+ acres, their multi-building campus will produce precursor (pCAM) and sustainable cathode active materials (CAM) to equip up to 250,000 EVs a year. A fairly young company, it’s important to Ascend Elements to work with a firm that has the resources to deliver a project of this magnitude and the agility to pivot project execution throughout a fast-track schedule as the company dynamic continues to develop and change. According to the client, SSOE has done well adapting to many fast-moving changes while driving the project schedule.

SSOE received Autodesk’s Design & Make AEC Best Construction Project Award for our design of Ascend Elements’ EV battery materials manufacturing facility in 2023 based on our approach to construction and the dramatic, positive results that were applied.

Battery Cell Production Facility

SSOE was selected as the A/E services provider for KORE Power’s greenfield battery cell production facility, KOREPlex. KORE Power is the leading U.S.-based developer of battery cell technology for the energy storage and electric transportation industries. The design / build team, comprised of KORE Power, Yates Construction, and SSOE, began design in late 2021 with an 18-month build, beginning construction mid-2022.

Some of the advanced manufacturing attributes of KOREPlex will include fully automated cell assembly lines, automated material movement and handling, an automated packaging line, and a pandemic-ready design to allow for safe workspaces. KOREPlex will operate with netzero carbon emissions through strategic partnerships and solar -plus- and storage cogeneration. The facility’s many cleanrooms are designed to provide ISO Class 6 and 7 cleanliness while maintaining very low humidity requirements throughout the space, some targeting a temperature / humidity setpoint within the -45°C dew point range. The design uses dedicated desiccant chilled water dehumidification units to dry the air, while also providing space-level cooling. The rooms also utilize fan filter units to allow for HEPA-level filtration and overall cleanroom pressurization requirements.

The design of the KOREPlex facility provides SSOE with an opportunity for our team to draw upon our unique expertise in the battery manufacturing sector—combining our understanding of large-scale manufacturing facilities with a technical mastery of controlled environments and process engineering.

The KOREPlex facility will support up to 12 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cell production, producing nearly 60 million battery cells annually. This new facility supports a reliable and independent U.S. supply chain for lithium-ion battery cells, which is critical to the future of electric vehicles, power grids, and more. The facility will have the production capacity provide power for 3.2 million homes per year.

Battery Assembly Plant Expansion

Viridi Parente is a developer of innovative battery technology that can be safely installed and operated in nearly any environment or location. The project increases the space on their 42-acre green tech campus to meet robust demand for its safe battery technology solutions. The company is working with Alberici Constructors to add 60,000 SF, expanding its total research lab, assembly, office, and production space to 180,000 SF. The expansion also integrates automation features, such as robotic welding technology and a vertical lift management system throughout the manufacturing space.

Located in a plant that was originally built by General Motors in 1923, Viridi Parente bought the plant in 2008 and renovated it to meet their needs and to better align the plant’s power usage with Viridi Parente’s goals of producing products with sustainable energy.

SSOE partnered with Alberici to provide mechanical, structural, electrical, data / fire / security, as well as fire protection engineering services on this project because of our specialized lithium-ion battery plant design expertise. Our team worked together with the client and Alberici to provide design solutions that are both sustainable and cost-effective. The newly expanded spaces include 30,000 SF for lab and assembly space and an additional 30,000 SF for increase shipping and receiving capacity. Prior to the expansion, the company occupied 120,000 SF of the campus facility with 60,000 SF of battery and machine assembly space featuring automotive-grade QA/QC, a fully integrated assembly process. It also included 20,000 SF of office and lab space, including a dedicated state-of-the-art battery testing lab for life cycle cell and module testing, thermal testing, and R&D as well as 40,000 SF shipping and receiving warehouse.

Greenfield Electric Vehicle
Manufacturing Facility

A well-known electric vehicle manufacturer sought to build a new greenfield facility to produce compact sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Based on previous successes with this client, SSOE was selected as the structural Engineer of Record (EOR) for this project. We provided full structural engineering and design, in addition to fire protection code review and permitting for the 500,000 SF multi-level general assembly shop and paint shop areas of the new facility.

Our staff integrated with the client’s engineers and other consultants early in the project. The team executed the project using an owner-directed construction approach, involving a hybrid EPC delivery method with a hyper fast-track schedule. The schedule required the seamless hand-off of steel detailing packages among design, procurement, and construction teams. To maintain a constant and organized workflow, SSOE leveraged native Revit functions to code and communicate all activities. Our practice ensured each group was continually aware of what was being released to them, resulting in little to no rework, as we reviewed and released each coded piece for the next step in real-time. Proven effective, our method was shared with other design consultants and the client’s structural modeling team as a best practice.

In addition to the efficiencies gained through Revit tools, SSOE also committed to a 48-hour turnaround time on shop drawing reviews to meet the project schedule. This proved challenging, as some steel submittals consisted of more than 200 pages with multiple submittals per week. To meet this goal, we utilized SDS/2 (Structural Detailing Steel) software to enable 3D model-based shop drawing reviews. Leveraging the model gave the project team and stakeholders the ability to closely analyze the design, streamlining the review process.

This project’s intricate delivery approach and expedited schedule required innovation and agility in its execution. Our ability to drive efficiency through the use of technology and seamless collaboration with the project team was key to its successful delivery. Based on SSOE’s continued performance with this client, our structural team was selected to design the facility’s warehouse, while our architectural team was selected to design the cathode building.

Battery Manufacturing Plant – Phase 1

A well known OEM forecast a significant increase in electric vehicle production. To meet the unprecedented demand this would create for lithium ion batteries, the automaker formed a strategic partnership with a leading battery manufacturer. Together, they aimed to construct a shared plant that would produce both electric motors and battery packs.

The facility is being built in phases, the first of which was made up of multiple sections of the plant totaling 6 million SF. The phase-one project was unique in that all facets of its design and implementation were led and executed by an internal team under the manufacturer’s authority—meaning the owner was also the designer, engineer, and construction manager. The team selected SSOE as a design partner for this phase with the flexibility to embody their out-of-the-box thinking and make their progressive goals a reality. SSOE provided key on-site and remote staff augmentation, in support of these critical functions:

  • Process Integration – assisted with design and specification for a portion of the initial process-related facility packages (including local DI water stations and local wastewater lift stations), engineering support for the process systems, and a significant amount of PIPE-FLO modeling for many plant utility systems.
  • Process Chemical – performed HAZOP, pipe supports, facility integration, and redesign of several bulk systems to meet updated needs or code requirements. Additionally, SSOE acted as a design and equipment specification “sanity check” for components on several of the small and bulk chemical handling systems.
  • Utilities – provided a significant portion of the Revit modeling for utility systems, as well as equipment layout in the utility support buildings.
  • Mechanical / HVAC – provided a substantial share of the Revit modeling and engineering support for the mechanical / HVAC systems for the facility.

The fluidity of design on this project created complications due to multiple sections of the facility being worked on interchangeably. SSOE’s engineers tackled these challenges by proactively solving problems, independently finding missing information, and piecing together details to achieve aggressive deliverables and goals that other A/E firms deemed impossible.

Ultimately, SSOE collaborated seamlessly with the manufacturer’s internal team. Drawing on industry expertise, the augmented staff was able to provide input on decisions that resulted in operational efficiencies, an improved layout, schedule compression, and more than $5 million in savings.

The facility will not only meet its lofty production goals, but also produce batteries for significantly less cost. Notably, it will be powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.