General Motors is planning to build a second plant in the US to manufacture battery cells for electric vehicles as part of its joint venture with LG. In response to a media report that GM was close to making a decision, the carmaker itself confirmed the plans.
Previously, the Wall Street Journal had reported that the two companies were close to a decision to build such a plant in Tennessee. GM now says it hopes to “make a decision on the potential project” by June. The US carmaker stressed that no final decision had yet been made.
As part of their joint venture Ultium Cells, GM and LG are already building a battery cell plant in Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2022. The plant is central to the carmaker’s electrification strategy to launch numerous models based on its ‘Ultium’ platform in the coming years. The Lordstown plant (not far from GM’s former vehicle plant, which has since been sold to Lordstown Motors) is expected to have a capacity of 30 GWh, and the joint investment by GM and LG is reported to be around $2.3 billion.
Whether a similar sum would have to be invested in a possible second plant in Tennessee was not specified by GM in view of the early stage of the deliberations. Battery cell production in Tennessee could make perfect sense: At the Spring Hill vehicle plant there, the company wants to build the Cadillac Lyriq with Ultium cells, among other things.
In the medium term, the battery factory in Lordstown could supply battery cells to vehicle plants in the north of the country, for example in Ohio and Michigan (e.g. Orion, Flint and Lansing River). The second plant in Tennessee could supply plants such as Arlington in Texas or Fairfax in Kentucky in addition to Spring Hill. The Fort Wayne plant in Indiana could conceivably be supplied from Ohio or Tennessee.
The need for additional battery cells and thus the construction of another plant also results from General Motors’ decision, announced at the end of January, to largely abandon the internal combustion engine by 2035.
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