GM and LG team up to build EV batteries in the US

General Motors and LG Chem are establishing a new joint venture to build battery cells at scale in the US.

"With this investment, OH and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions", said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra in a press release announcing the initiative.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in mid-2020.

The investment builds upon GM's decision to pump $28 million in a MI battery lab, last year. The companies say they'll invest up to $2.3 billion in the venture. The relationship deepened as GM developed and then launched the Chevy Bolt EV. "The venture is likely to be signed on Thursday, the sources said".

The venture is significant for both companies.

In October, Reuters reported the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is expected to build at least four different electric vehicles, including an SUV for Cadillac and a pickup for GMC.

At a media briefing, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said the 50-50 joint venture with LG Chem is aimed at "dramatically enhancing electric vehicle affordability and profitability".

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Electric vehicle industry suppliers were cheered by the news, especially GM's talk of an EV truck as pickups and SUVs are the heart of the USA market. The next generation of vehicles will have a new battery electric vehicle architecture, will be desirable, profitable with the right range and affordable, Barra noted during the call. "And so that is the journey we are on and we think working with LG is will accelerate that path".

"The facility, expected to be located in the Lordstown area, will see investment of more than $2 billion with GM and LG Chem expected to invest more than $1 billion each, one of the sources said".

GM said the state-of-the-art plant would create more than 1,100 jobs. If successful, the annual capacity at the plant would be close to the same output of Tesla's massive factory near Reno, Nev. Two decades later, it is GM playing catch up to startups Tesla and Rivian in the electric truck space as the industry's realization is that the key to electric vehicles is not automotive manufacturing, but in battery cell production. Panasonic makes the cells, which Tesla then uses to make battery packs for its electric vehicles.

The project is centered around Lordstown, Ohio, where GM shuttered a plant last March that had produced the Chevrolet Cruze.

The pending Lordstown plant could bring the promise of relief to the 1,600 workers who watched their assembly plant get shut down. The decision resulted in the elimination of some 1,200 jobs.

In brief, GM-LG Chem joint venture lithium-ion battery cell factory to be built near GM's closed Lordstown, Ohio, factory (recently sold to Lordstown Motors).

This investment builds on GM's $28 million investment in its Warren, Michigan battery lab announced late a year ago.

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