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EV battery plants

GM, LG to build second US EV battery plant in Tennessee

By Apr 19, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Energy and GM made a joint announcement of their 2nd EV battery plant construction in the US: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (on left), LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun (at center) and General Motors Chairman Mary Barra (on right)
LG Energy and GM made a joint announcement of their 2nd EV battery plant construction in the US: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (on left), LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun (at center) and General Motors Chairman Mary Barra (on right)

LG Energy Solution Ltd. and General Motors Co. will spend 2.7 trillion won ($2.4 billion) to build their second US electric vehicle battery plant in Tennessee, which should double their EV battery output in the country.

Ultium Cells LLC, the two companies' EV battery joint venture, aims to complete the new plant with an annual production capacity of 35-gigawatt hours (GWh) by the first half of 2024. GWh is a measure of electricity output.

Both companies have been already working on their $2.3 billion EV battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The 35GWh, Ohio plant is set to be completed by the second half of this year. 

The combined 70GWh electricity will be enough to charge around 1 million high-performance, all-electric EVs that run for more than 500km on a single charge.

"We will put efforts into building a stable supply chain within the US from R&D to raw materials procurement to battery production," LG Energy Chief Executive Kim Jong-hyun said during the Apr. 16 event to announce the new plant.

"We will contribute to the success of the US Green New Deal policies together with GM," Kim added.

LG Energy became the latest in a string of EV battery makers and global automakers which have made new investments in the US to ride on President Joe Biden’s green transportation policy.

Early last week, LG Energy reached a settlement with its domestic rival SK Innovation Co. to end a two-year legal dispute in the US over trade secret infringement and battery-related patent violations. Under the agreement, SK will pay 2 trillion won – one trillion won in cash compensation and one trillion won in royalties – to LG in compensation.

SK Innovation is currently constructing two battery plants in Georgia, which will supply EV batteries to Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG. The first plant is set to begin operations in the first quarter of next year, with the second plant scheduled for mass production in 2023.

Since it was named the sole battery supplier for the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s first mass-produced EV in 2009, LG is also providing the Detroit automaker with batteries for its flagship models, the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Bolt EV. LG’s other clients include Tesla and Volkswagen, as well as Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp.

Separately, SK Innovation on Apr. 16 announced a joint development of hybrid electric vehicles batteries for both Hyundai Motor Co., KIA Corp.

Write to Jae-Kwang Ahn at ahnjk@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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