General Motors continues to ramp up its U.S. supply chain to manufacture electric vehicles—this time for a third battery plant with its joint venture partner LG Energy Solution, a Korean company that produces lithium-ion batteries.
Lansing, Mich., hopes to be selected as the site for the new $2.5-billion project, with the city council on Dec. 13 unanimously approving two resolutions to lure the plant to a site near the city. Lansing is competing against other potential sites nationwide and GM has not chosen a site.
One resolution extends a tax-sharing agreement with a nearby town west of Lansing. Another would approve GM’s application for a "renaissance zone" for the project, which needs state approval. State lawmakers, meanwhile, hope to convince the Detroit automaker to build the plant in Michigan with a new economic development program.
Victoria Meadows, chief strategic officer for Lancing Economic Area Partnership told ENR that GM has indicated it will make a decision in “a matter of weeks,” although she said it would be premature to speculate on behalf of the company.
The GM-LG joint venture is soon to complete another plant, located in Lordstown, Ohio, which will mass-produce battery cells with various manufacturing processes and using advanced battery technologies. Set to open next year, the 2.8 million-sq-ft complex is being developed to produce economies of scale to reduce battery prices, GM said. It will be flexible enough to adapt to advances in technologies and materials, the company said.
Construction began on the joint venture’s second battery plant, a $2.3 billion project in Spring Hill, Tenn., soon after it was announced in April. It will be completed in 2023.
The company also announced two additional JV supply chain projects in December.
GM announced on Dec. 10 a joint venture with German manufacturer Vacuumschmelze to build permanent magnets for electric vehicle motors. Production is set to begin in 2024 but a plant location has not been determined.
GM also is developing a joint venture with POSCO Chemical to build a factory at an undetermined location to process cathode active material, a key battery material that the automaker says represents about 40% of the cost of a battery cell. The new plant will supply GM and LG battery factories in Lordstown and Spring Hill.
The projects are part of GM’s plan to invest $35 billion by 2025 in its electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle business, the company said in June. “We are building a sustainable and resilient North America-focused supply chain for EV’s covering the entire ecosystem from raw materials to battery cell manufacturing and recycling,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president for global supply chain development.
The automaker did not respond to ENR’s questions about firms selected to design and build the new plants.