General Motors and LG Chem have announced plans to establish a battery cell assembly plant on a greenfield site in the Lordstown area of Northeast Ohio. The companies will invest up to $2.3 billion in the facility through a new joint venture. The new factory will eventually provide batteries for GM’s electric pickup truck, expected to hit the market in 2021.
The plant is expected to create as many as 1,100 new jobs – welcome news for area residents who are still digesting the closure of a plant where GM produced the retired Cruze sedan and employed some 5,000 workers.
GM has announced several steps in the direction of electrification recently – In November, the company finalized the sale of the former Cruze plant to a spin-off of Workhorse Group, which hopes to produce an electric pickup there starting in late 2020. Late last year it announced $28 million worth of new investment in its Warren, Michigan battery lab. Alas, the company’s announcement of its electric pickup was ill-timed (hadn’t you heard about that?) – it was utterly overshadowed by Tesla’s Cybertruck launch.
On the other hand, GM along with several other global automakers, has chosen to side with the Trump administration in its campaign to eviscerate California’s fuel economy standards, which have been the main impetus for the US auto industry’s production of EVs so far. It’s a complicated world.
“Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“Our joint venture with the No. 1 American automaker will further prepare us for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market, while giving us insights into the broader EV ecosystem,” said LG Chem Vice Chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin. “Our long-standing history with General Motors has proven our collective expertise in this space.”
Groundbreaking for the new plant is expected to take place in mid-2020.