GM, LG Chem Announce Massive New Battery Facility
Producing battery capacity to power approximately 450,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs every year
General Motors has just announced a new partnership with LG Chem that will bring a massive battery plant to Ohio as well as create 1,100 new jobs in what will be one of the largest such facilities anywhere.
It’s a joint venture for the two companies that will see a new plant built in Lordstown, Ohio. The same city impacted recently by GM’s decision to discontinue the Chevrolet Cruze compact car for North America will now be the beneficiaries of U.S $2.3 billion in investment, and then 1,100 ongoing jobs. The new battery facility will not be in that shuttered facility, which has been sold to a new group setting out to make EVs of its own, but will instead be an all-new plant.
GM says that the design capacity for the plant will be “more than 30 gigawatt-hours” with room for the pair to expand beyond that figure. For scale, that’s just shy of the 35 GWh per year of Tesla’s mammoth Gigafactory 1 design capacity but is higher than the 24 GWh output that Tesla partner Panasonic says it’s actually producing currently.
That’s enough battery capacity to power approximately 450,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs every year, though it’s more likely that the plant will make cells and packs for a much wider range of expected EVs from GM’s four North American brands including an all-new BEV truck coming fall 2021.
“Our joint venture with the No. 1 American automaker will further prepare us for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market, while giving us insights into the broader EV ecosystem” said LG Chem Vice Chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin. â”Our long-standing history with General Motors has proven our collective expertise in this space, and we look forward to continuing this drive for zero emissions.”
GM also recently announced a $28 million investment into its Warren, MI battery lab late last year. Groundbreaking on the Ohio plant is slated for mid-2020.
This announcement also helps put into perspective the quantity of battery production that will be needed as electric vehicles begin to make inroads into combustion engine sales. This facility is enough to supply around 450,000 vehicles using battery packs the size of the Bolt EV. That’s just 66 kWh, or about 2/3rds the size of a Tesla Model S P100. In other words, packs for crossovers and trucks will need to be much larger, unless buyers are willing to accept shorter range vehicles. GM sold more than 3.2 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada last year, meaning they would need more than seven plants of this size to transform the fleet to fully electric.