- First Name
- Jun 16, 2020
- Reaction score
- Dodge Ram diesel
General Motors and its joint-venture battery partner LG Chem Ltd. will build a second battery cell manufacturing factory in the United States in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
The automaker on Friday revealed plans for a $2.3 billion factory.
The 2.8-million-square-foot facility will create 1,300 new manufacturing jobs, GM said. Those jobs may not all be union jobs since the UAW would have to organize and negotiate a new contract there.
Ultium Cells, the name of the GM and LG venture, will build the new plant on land leased from GM and construction will begin immediately.
GM's and LG's battery unit, LG Energy Solution, is completing construction on the first Ultium Cells battery manufacturing plant in Lordstown, Ohio, due to open in the first quarter of 2022.
“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 CEO Mary Barra in a statement. “The support of the state of Tennessee was an important factor in making this investment in Spring Hill possible and this type of support will be critical moving forward.”
GM has said all of its light-duty vehicles will be zero-emissions by 2035.
The UAW reacted to the news Friday saying these are important jobs.
"We continue to work with General Motors on the transition to Electric Vehicles," said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg in a statement. "We believe that GM has a moral obligation to work with the UAW and the joint venture partner to make sure these are good paying union jobs like those of their brothers and sisters who make internal combustion engines.”
The plant in Spring Hill is scheduled to open in late 2023, GM said. Once operational, it will make batteries for the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq SUV, which will be built at GM's nearby Spring Hill Assembly plant. The Lyriq is expected to go on sale early next year.
The Spring Hill plant will use a different battery chemistry that will be more cost-effective than the one used in Lordstown, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Until the Tennessee plant is running, the Lyriq will get a battery made by another LG facility, not from Lordstown, Reuters reported.
The Spring Hill battery plant will be "state-of-the-art" and use the most advanced and efficient battery cell manufacturing processes, GM said. The plant will be flexible and able to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and materials.
"I truly believe this coming together transcends a partnership as it marks a defining moment that will reduce emissions and help to accelerate the adoption of EVs," said LG Energy Solution CEO Jong Hyyun Kim in a statement.
As the Free Press reported last month, GM and LG discussed tax incentives with the local leaders in Maury and Williamson counties in Tennessee as well as state officials. Spring Hill is in Maury and Williamson counties where Spring Hill Assembly is located. GM presently builds the Cadillac XT5, XT6 and GMC Acadia SUVs at Spring Hill.
In October, GM said it would invest $2 billion in Spring Hill to build EVs, part of a $27 billion investment GM is making in electric and autonomous vehicles over the next five years.
Coming to Michigan?
GM has said it plans for all its new light-duty vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2035. Industry experts have said to hit that aggressive target, it will need more battery plants beyond the two it has announced.
In March, LG Energy said it would invest $4.5 billion in U.S. battery production over the next four years. That includes building at least two new plants.
Because GM will position its battery plants near where it builds its EVs, Michigan could get a battery factory in the future, Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights in Detroit told the Free Press in a previous interview.
"LG Chem already has a plant of its own in Holland, Michigan, so that’s one source that could expand to supply Ultium batteries," Abuelsamid said. "When they originally set up that plant they had enough land there for three factories. Their plan in 2012 or 2013, when they started production, was to scale up as EV demand grew. They’ve done some expansion there, but certainly have room for more."
Abuelsamid said if GM expects "to get to 100% EV sales by 2035 or even a million a year in 2025, which is what they talked about recently, they will absolutely need more battery capacity.”
More jobs elsewhere
GM could also build an additional battery factory elsewhere in the Midwest to supply GM’s other assembly plants in Michigan and its assembly plant in Fairfax, Kansas, Abuelsamid said.
GM has said it plans to produce the EV600 electric delivery van at its Ingersoll, Ontario, plant, starting later this year. A new battery plant in Michigan or southwest Ontario could feed into that, Abuelsamid said.
GM has said that plant will eventually supply the batteries to Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck. Factory ZERO is under construction and will starting making the GMC Hummer electric pickup late this year. GM plans to build about five EVs there but has identified only the Hummer, the Silverado pickup and the Cruise Origin self-driving car.
In Lordstown, GM and LG are spending $2.3 billion to build the 2.5 million-square-foot battery plant. GM has said it will eventually employ about 1,100 people there; it started hiring in November. Again, it is unclear how many of those jobs may be union.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press