GM and LG Chem Plan Second EV Battery Plant for U.S. Market

General Motors Co. and Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. are exploring a project to build a second battery plant in the U.S. to make cells for the future electric vehicles that the automaker has planned for its home market, a spokesman said Thursday.

The two companies are looking at different sites to build a plant that would be similar in size to the $2.3 billion facility currently being built in Lordstown, Ohio, and have talked to public officials in Tennessee. GM will make a decision in the first half of this year.

GM and LG’s LG Energy Solution unit will need the second plant to make cells to power the expanded family of electric cars and trucks that are planned over the next five years. The automaker has announced that it will build 30 of them by 2025, with many going on sale in the U.S.

“GM and LG Energy Solution, via the Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, are exploring a second battery plant in the U.S.,” said spokesman Dan Flores. “We hope to have a decision on the project in the first half of 2021.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on GM and LG’s deliberations earlier Thursday.

GM may need to build more battery production beyond the second plant if EV sales take off and its planned plug-in models become popular, said a person familiar with the matter. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra has huge plans for EVs, including selling only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

GM and LG already are constructing the first EV battery plant in Lordstown, the same city where the automaker controversially idled and then sold a car factory more than half a century old. That plant will employ more than 1,000 people and supply batteries to Factory Zero, the electric-truck plant that sits on the border between Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.

Expanded battery production is a piece in GM’s $27 billion investment budget for electric and autonomous vehicles. A Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant that currently makes gasoline-powered Cadillac and GMC sport utility vehicles is earmarked for a conversion to make electric vehicles.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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