GM evaluating second U.S. battery plant for EVs amid construction of $2.3 billion facility in Ohio

TruckElectric

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KEY POINTS
  • GM is evaluating a second location in the U.S. to produce battery cells for electric vehicles with LG Chem.
  • Through their Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, the companies are currently spending $2.3 billion for a new battery cell plant in Ohio.
  • GM said it hopes “to have a decision on the potential project” by June.
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2022 GMC Hummer EV sport utility truck “Edition 1”
GM

General Motors is looking at building a second plant in the U.S. to produce battery cells for electric vehicles through a joint venture with LG Chem.

The automaker confirmed the plans Thursday morning after The Wall Street Journal reported the companies were close to a decision to locate the plant in Tennessee, but a final selection hadn’t been made. GM said it hopes “to have a decision on the potential project” by June.

Through their Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, GM and LG are currently spending $2.3 billion for a new battery cell plant in Ohio. The facility is expected to be completed in 2022, allowing the automaker to lower costs and bring vehicles to market more quickly. The plant is considered a linchpin of GM’s plans for its next-generation EVs to be profitable.


GM is expected to release 20 new or redesigned EVs as part of its $27 billion investment plan from 2020 through 2025.

Ultium is GM’s next-generation batteries and platform, which is expected to debut later this year in the GMC Hummer EV pickup. The first vehicles are not expected to include Ultium battery cells from the plant that’s currently under construction.

Outgoing GM Chief Sustainability Officer Dane Parker last year said the automaker would need to make more investment in battery production capacity. He said the increase would likely be a mix of new facilities and retrofitting existing plants.

“We’re able to, in many cases, retrofit existing propulsion plants to do that,” he said during a Goldman Sachs conference in December. “In some cases, we’ll be building new ones.”


Amid an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that’s impacting vehicle production globally, there has been growing interest in restructuring vehicle supply chains, specifically for higher-tech components, including battery cells. The White House last week ordered a review of the U.S. battery supply chain.

“We need to bring battery production to the U.S.,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said last month during a Wolfe Research conference. “We can’t go through what we’re doing with chips right now in Taiwan. It’s just important.”

Ford has not announced any plans for investing in U.S. battery production. Most batteries currently are manufactured in Asia and Europe. Tesla currently operates a massive battery and cell manufacturing facility with panasonic in Nevada. Tesla also told investors in September that it started producing its own cells at a pilot plant in Fremont, California.


SOURCE: CNBC




Hyperdrive
GM and LG Chem Plan Second EV Battery Plant for U.S. Market
By
Kyunghee Park
and
David Welch
March 4, 2021, 5:57 AM CST Updated on March 4, 2021, 7:42 AM CST

  • Companies have talked with public officials in Tennessee

  • Planned facility is part of GM’s big zero-emission push


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The Ultium EV platform and battery system. Source: General Motors Co.


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.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG
 

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"The automaker has announced that it will build 30 of them by 2025, with many going on sale in the U.S. "

Cool. How many GWH of battery cells do they need to achieve their goal? How many of each model are they targeting as an annual run rate? Does LG / GM have contracts with suppliers in place, specifically for nickel, lithium and cobalt since they will be using NMCA chemistry in their Ultium cells? If so, what do those raw materials amount to as a GWH annualized run rate?

What good is 30 models when the battery supply chain can only support a limited number of units per model? Whats the margin on those models at that limited run rate? So many questions...

The whole argument that GM knows how to make cars is ridiculous. Do they know how to make mass produced electric cars? They only make about 20k Bolts a year and who knows what the margins are on those things.
 

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