General Motors is exploring building a second U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant with its joint-venture partner, Seoul, South Korea-based LG Chem.
If the plant moves forward, it would be the latest in a series of investments aimed at building out the auto giant’s portfolio of electric vehicles. The company’s joint venture with LG, Ultium Cells LLC, is already at work constructing a $2.3 billion battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio.
The companies hope to have a decision on the factory in the first half of 2021, GM spokesman Dan Flores told TechCrunch. He declined to specify possible locations for the site, but Tennessee is high on the list, according to reporting from The Wall Street Journal.
GM has set ambitious targets for decarbonizing its operations and pledged steep investments to get there. Through 2025 alone the company said it would bring to the global market 30 EV models across its brands and spend $27 billion on electrification and automated technology — a 35% increase from 2020 spending. By the mid-2030s, GM said its fleet will be all-EV.
“Clearly, with our commitment to an all-electric future, we will need a lot of battery cells,” Flores said.
He declined to comment on the ongoing shortage of battery cells, which has affected EV manufacturers Tesla and Nikola. President Joe Biden issued an executive order at the end of February instructing federal agencies to identify risks in the supply chains for batteries, semiconductors and other critical items, including where supply chains are dependent on “competitor nations.”
GM CEO Mary Barra said in a virtual investor presentation last week that the battery shortage is one reason the company is investing in its own battery cell manufacturing. She alluded to plans to grow the company’s battery cell manufacturing operations but did not go into specifics.
“There’s more coming than we’ve announced already,” she said.
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