- gm and lg chem are forming a joint venture to invest $2.3 billion to build an ohio plant near the former gm lordstown plant that the automaker just sold to a startup.
- the plant will manufacture batteries for electric vehicles. gm has said that they intended to have 20 evs on the market by 2023.
- gm said the plant will create 1100 new jobs in ohio and construction will begin on it mid-2020.
general motors has announced a joint venture with lg chem in which the two companies will build a new battery-cell assembly plant in ohio with a $2.3 billion investment. the facility is being built on a greenfield site in the lordstown area and will create 1100 jobs, according to gm. lg chem is one of the world's leading battery manufacturers and, reuters reports, supplies batteries to ford, hyundai, tesla, volkswagen, and volvo.
the joint venture will allow the companies to produce batteries more cheaply and collaborate on technology going into them. gm said the plant will have a yearly capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours. this could put it ahead of tesla’s gigafactory, which claimed an annual 20 gigawatt-hours of capacity as of mid-2018, and at the least would make it strongly competitive. construction on the gm/lg plant will begin in mid-2020, gm said.
the announcement comes as gm pushes to reach its goal of having 20 electric vehicles in its lineup by 2023. in march of this year, chevrolet revealed that it has a crossover electric vehicle in the works, and while buick unveiled an ev, the enspire, in 2018, we now know that at least initially, the enspire will be equipped with an internal-combustion engine.
on november 21, the same day the cybertruck was revealed, gm ceo mary barra said that gm will have its own electric pickup that will become available in the fall of 2021. barra has previously said that the company expects to sell a million electric vehicles each year in the near future. the batteries built in the ohio plant will be used in such vehicles.
gm's former lordstown, ohio, complex, where the chevrolet cruze was manufactured, was shuttered in march of this year in the midst of gm's move away from passenger vehicles and into crossovers and suvs. the plant has since been sold to lordstown motors, an electric-pickup manufacturer. that startup's first vehicle, the 2021 endurance, is slated to come out next year.
a spokesperson for gm told c/d that the now former gm plant was not converted for battery production because it didn't meet the requirements to do so and the cost of conversion would have been steep.
since the employees in the new plant will work for the joint venture and not gm directly, the workers will decide for themselves whether or not to unionize, according to automotive news. during the uaw strike in the fall of this year, the wall street journal reported that gm had plans to invest in a battery plant in ohio and had discussed wages of $15 to $17 an hour with the union, less than the $30-per-hour full wage made by uaw workers at the former-gm plant.