Work has resumed at the massive future site of Scout Motors’ electric vehicle plant in Blythewood after a hiatus of more than three months.
Construction of the new plant halted in September after concerns were raised over the project’s environmental impact, particularly to area wetlands.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the permit to resume work. To get the permit, Scout Motors officials agreed to preserve wetlands in other areas of the state, including 4,800 acres at the Congaree River Tract and 143 acres at the Shelton Island Tract along the Broad River in Fairfield County. Scout officials also agreed to work to restore streams around the state as an offset for the effects the Blythewood construction is having on surrounding wetlands in northeast Richland County.
A company spokesperson released a statement after the go-ahead to begin work was given on Jan. 12.
“Scout Motors would like to thank our partners at the federal, state and local level in South Carolina for their efforts and multi-jurisdictional teamwork to obtain the wetlands permit necessary for our future production center,” the statement read. “With this permit now in hand, we are excited to continue moving forward with our plans to construct a state-of-the-art facility in South Carolina. … We will continue to provide regular updates and information to our local community in Blythewood as our operations progress.”
Local and state officials were happy to see work on the project get a green light once again.
“We are gratified that the permit has been issued, and we anticipate that work at the site will resume shortly,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey and Richland County Ecnomic Development Director Jeff Ruble in a joint statement.
In March 2023, the Virginia-based electric vehicle manufacturer announced a $2 billion investment in Richland County to establish manufacturing operations in Blythewood to make all-electric trucks and rugged SUVs. Construction had been ongoing at Scout’s 1,100-acre site off in the southeastern quadrant of Richland County’s industrial park off Interstate 77, and company officials hope to begin production by the end of 2026. The plant is expected to create an estimated 4,000 jobs.
In November, Scout Motors opened its first regional offices in Columbia’s BullStreet District.
Originally produced by International Harvester from 1960 to 1980, Scout was the world’s first utility vehicle suitable for both off-road and standard urban travel. Now owned by Volkswagen, the brand is being relaunched to produce vehicles in tune with the worldwide growing EV industry.