GM & LG Chem to build huge electric vehicle battery cell plant in Ohio

In a statement, South Korea’s LG Chem and General Motors Co disclosed, they plan on investing $2.3 billion to build an electric vehicle battery cell joint venture plant in Ohio, in what is stated to be one of the biggest battery facilities in the world.

The plant, which will be built near GM’s closed assembly plant in Lordstown in northeast Ohio, will employ more than 1,100 people, said both companies.

Construction of the plant, which will have an annual capacity of more than 30 gigawatt hours with the flexibility to expand, will begin in mid-2020.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said the 50-50 joint venture with LG Chem is aimed at “dramatically enhancing electric vehicle affordability and profitability.”

She went on to add, the Ohio battery plant will accelerate the automaker’s initiative to introduce 20 new electric vehicles globally by 2023.

“General Motors believes in the science of global warming and believes in an all-electric future,” said Barra.

Battery cells produced in the plant will be used in a GM electric pickup which will start production in the fall of 2021 at the company’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which eventually will “have more than one product.”

The battery cell plant is expected to boost LG Chem’s global battery capacity to 100 gigawatt-hours by the end of 2020, said LG Chem’s CEO Hak-Cheol Shin said at the briefing.

According to GM’s spokeswoman, both companies will invest around $916 million each, with the balance amount coming from debt capital raised by the joint venture.

According to sources familiar with the plan, the plant’s workers will in most probability be represented by the United Auto Workers union and earn $15 to $17 an hour. If so, it would be the first unionized battery factory in the United States.

“The battery plant itself is a critical part of GM’s overall strategy to dominate the EV market over the next several decades,” said White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro.

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