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EV batteries

LG Energy, Stellantis to launch $3.4 billion EV battery JV in US

The partnership comes as battery makers and carmakers tie up to get ahead in the shift toward electrification

By Oct 18, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Energy Solution
LG Energy Solution

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd. and multinational automaker Stellantis N.V. are launching a 4 trillion won ($3.4 billion) joint venture to build a battery manufacturing facility in the US targeting the fast-growing North American electric vehicle market.

LG and Stellantis, the world’s No. 4 automaker, have entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form a JV to produce lithium-ion battery cells and modules in the US, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The JV plans to break ground on the new plant in the second quarter of next year with an aim to start production by the first quarter of 2024. Once completed, the facility will have an annual production capacity of 40 gigawatt hours, raising LG’s total capacity in North America to 150 GWh.

The location of the new factory is currently under review and further details will be shared at a later date, according to the companies.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals by the Korean and US governments.

“Establishing a joint venture with Stellantis will be a monumental milestone in our long-standing partnership,” said LG Energy Solution Chief Executive Kim Jong-hyun.

“LG will position itself as a provider of battery solutions to our prospective customers in the region by utilizing our collective, unique technical skills and mass-producing capabilities.”

LG Energy and Stellantis agree to launch a .4 billion EV battery JV in the US.
LG Energy and Stellantis agree to launch a $3.4 billion EV battery JV in the US.

RACE FOR ELECTRIFICATION

The batteries produced at the new facility will be supplied to Stellantis assembly plants throughout the US, Canada and Mexico for installation in next-generation electric vehicles ranging from plug-in hybrids to full battery electric vehicles that will be sold under the Stellantis family of brands, according to the statement.

The JV will help Stellantis achieve its goal of realizing more than 40% of its sales in the US comprised of electrified vehicles by 2030.

Stellantis, the maker of the Jeep SUV, is a 50-50 joint venture launched in January through the merger of US carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and French automaker PSA Groupe.

“Today’s announcement is further proof that we are deploying our aggressive electrification road map and are following through on the commitments we made during our EV Day event in July,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.

“With this, we have now determined the next ‘gigafactory’ coming to the Stellantis portfolio to help us achieve a total minimum of 260 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2030.”

Stellantis plans to invest more than €30 billion through 2025 in electrification and software development.

The partnership between the two companies in electrified vehicles dates back to 2014 when LG Energy, then part of LG Chem Ltd., was selected by then Fiat Chrysler, to supply the lithium-ion battery pack system for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the industry’s first electrified minivan.

With the partnership, LG Energy is said to be securing some 40 trillion won worth of orders to make EV batteries for Stellantis. LG said earlier it had an overall order backlog worth 180 trillion won for several global electric car makers.

GM and LG Energy Solution announce the construction of their 2nd Ultium Cells plant in the US.
GM and LG Energy Solution announce the construction of their 2nd Ultium Cells plant in the US.

TIE-UPs BETWEEN BATTERY MAKERS, CARMAKERS

The LG-Stellantis deal is the latest in a series of tie-ups between battery producers and automakers.

Tesla Inc. and Japan’s Panasonic Corp. have a JV called Gigafactory with an annual capacity of 35 GWh. The two companies plan to build another factory in Nevada later this year.

In March, Volkswagen said it is joining hands with its partner Northvolt AB, the Swedish battery startup, to build six “gigafactories” in Europe by 2030 and roll out a new unified prismatic battery cell design from 2023, which is widely adopted by Chinese battery makers, including CATL and BYD.

In December 2019, LG Energy and General Motors formed a US joint venture Ultium Cells, which is currently building two 35GWh battery plants, one in Ohio and the other in Tennessee.

SK Innovation Co., another Korean battery maker, and Ford Motor last month officially kicked off a joint venture BlueOvalSK, which plans to invest $11.4 billion to build an assembly and battery complex and two additional battery factories in the US.

LG Energy Solution's MIchigan plant
LG Energy Solution's MIchigan plant

Samsung SDI Co., which was expected to form a JV with Stellantis, is also known to be entering the US market by forming a partnership with a global automaker.

LG said last week it is resuming its initial share sale plan shelved for months due to the uncertainty over the recall costs for General Motors’ electric cars.

With the IPO proceeds, LG plans to expand its production capacity and increase research and development.

Write to Il-Gue Kim and Hyung-Kyu Kim at Black0419@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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