Honda ramps up US battery production and electric car plants
Honda has announced two major investments in the US state of Ohio. 700 million US dollars will flow into the conversion of three existing car and powertrain plants for the production of electric cars. Another 3.5 billion US dollars will be invested in the joint venture with LG Energy Solution (LGES) for the construction of the joint venture’s battery factory.
The battery joint venture between Honda & LG Energy was announced in summer, and now the exact location of the battery factory has now been decided: The battery plant will be built in Fayette County in Ohio, about 40 miles southwest of Columbus. Battery production should start at the end of 2025 with an annual production capacity of about 40 GWh. The location in Ohio hasn’t come as a surprise since the state is also home to the Japanese company’s most important vehicle plants in the US.
So far, the actual name of the US joint venture between the Japanese and Korean companies has not been mentioned, as the establishment is still “subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals”. The plant is expected to produce pouch cells with up to 2,200 employees. Incorporation is expected to take place this year, with construction starting in early 2023.
The conversions of existing Honda plants in Ohio involve the Marysville Auto Plant (MAP), East Liberty Auto Plant (ELP) and Anna Engine Plant (AEP), with the aim of starting production and sales of electric cars based on the new Honda e:Architecture in 2026. More than 300 new jobs are to be created at the three plants.
Battery cases will be manufactured at the Anna Engine Plant. At the Marysville Auto Plant, the cells supplied by the joint venture will be assembled into modules and inserted into the housings from the AEP. The ready-to-install battery packs will then be installed in the vehicles assembled at the Marysville and East Liberty Auto Plants.
While these plants and the new joint venture battery plant are being respectively converted and built, Honda will be using batteries from General Motors’ Ultium platform with Ultium Cells. This applies to the Japanese company’s first two BEV models for the US market, the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX.
“This is a very challenging time for our entire industry, but also a very exciting time as Honda invests in full electric vehicle production in the Buckeye State,” said Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda has built hybrid-electric vehicles in Ohio for a number of years, and the experience and expertise of our associates in manufacturing, product development, and purchasing will serve as an important foundation as we transition to the electrified future.” This transition has been famously slow, as the Japanese company has so far only produced hybrid electric vehicles. Honda says it manufactured more than 100,000 hybrid cars in the US in 2021, including the Accord Hybrid, CR-V Hybrid and Insight.
Honda is banking on three new all-electric vehicle platforms in its plan to achieve sales volumes of more than two million electric cars per year by 2030. The first of these is set to debut as early as 2024. In 2026, an electric model will follow in North America on the basis of a new “large” platform. In addition, as a basis for more affordable vehicles, Honda will be co-producing electric vehicles with General Motors with a recently announced new global platform scheduled to launch in 2027.