GM and LG Energy Solution in 'feasibility talks' for second Ultium battery cells project in US

by John Shepherd
Workers signed the final steel beam as part of last month's Ultium Cells plant topping out ceremony. Photo: GM
General Motors and their Ultium Cells joint venture partner, LG Energy Solution (LES), are discussing plans to build a second electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in the US, GM has told World Battery News.

GM and LES, South Korea's LG Chem subsidiary, are "exploring the feasibility of constructing a second, state-of-the-art battery cell manufacturing plant”, a GM spokesperson confirmed.

The spokesperson did not comment on speculation that the second plant could be built Tennessee, but said: "We hope to have a decision on the potential project in the first half of 2021.”

Construction on the first Ultium Cells plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which will produce batteries for GM’s new-generation electric vehicles range, started last summer. The partners are investing $2.3bn (£1.7bn) in that project, which will span nearly three million square feet when complete – expected in 2022.

Construction milestone

The construction team hoisted and installed the final beam of the steel building structure at Lordstown last month, as part of a traditional ‘topping out' ceremony.

GM and LG Chem have said previously that the joint venture will drive battery cell costs below $100/kWh. The cells use a proprietary chemistry featuring LG Chem’s NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminium) cathode, which requires 70% less cobalt than existing NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cells.

The Ultium large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. GM said Ultium energy options "range from 50 to 200 kWh, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge with 0 to 60 mph acceleration as low as three seconds”.

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