DETROIT, Michigan: General Motors has announced plans to build a second electric battery cell plant in the U.S. with its South Korean partner LG Energy Solution, in response to rising demand in the electric vehicle market.
"The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future," said GM chief executive Mary Barra, as quoted by Reuters.
GM and LG's first plant in Lordstown, Ohio is set to open next year. The $2.3-billion plant will open in Spring Hill, Tennessee in late 2023 and is expected to supply battery packs for more than 500,000 electric vehicles per year.
According to sources quoted by Reuters, General Motors will need to build additional battery plants to meet its electric vehicle targets, which include plans to sell over 1 million EVs globally by 2025 and phase out light-duty gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035.
In a regulatory filing, LG Chem said its LG Energy Solution unit will invest $933.5 million into the Tennessee plant between 2021 and 2023.
The plant, which will employ 1,300 people, will have a production capacity of about 35 gigawatt-hours. It will use a different, less-expensive battery chemistry, compared to the Lordstown plant, according to sources.
The new plant will supply batteries for GM's Cadillac Lyriq and Symboliq crossover EVs, which are slated to go into production in 2022 and 2024, besides two electric crossovers for Honda and Acura.
In a statement, LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun said the joint venture with GM is expected to contribute to the "success of the U.S. Green New Deal policy".
LG will "focus more on establishing a stable supply chain system that is differentiated and stable within the U.S., from R&D to production of batteries to raw materials", he added.
Currently, most battery manufacturing is concentrated in China and Korea, while U.S. battery production is dominated by Tesla and its Japanese partner, Panasonic.