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GM and LG Chem join forces on batteries

Battery power: GM’s planned Cadillac electric SUV is expected to benefit from low-cost batteries made at a new factory built by parent company GM and Korean battery supplier LG Chem.

Giant low-cost battery factory planned by new GM-LG Chem joint venture in US

9 Dec 2019

GENERAL Motors and long-time battery partner LG Chem have created a $US2.3 billion ($A3.37b) joint venture to mass-produce low-cost batteries for new-generation electric vehicles.


The companies say they also will pool their advanced battery knowledge to reduce costs to industry leading levels.


Among the vehicles in line to get batteries from the new joint venture plant - set to be built in Lordstown, Ohio, starting next year - will be an all-electric truck due to be launched in 2021, presumably a pick-up to take on Tesla’s recently unveiled Cybertruck.


A luxury electric Cadillac SUV is also in the pipeline for launch in 2021.


To be built on a greenfield site, the factory has been designed to churn out batteries with a combined capacity of 30 gigawatt hours a year in what GM describes as “the most advanced manufacturing processes all under one roof”.


That will make the GM-LG Chem factory almost as big as Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada that turns out battery packs with a combined capacity of 35gWh using lithium-ion cells supplied by Panasonic.


The Ohio factory is expected to employ 1100 workers from an area hard hit by the closure of GM’s Lordstown plant in March.


GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the new venture would accelerate the uorsuit for an all-electric future.


“With this investment, Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” she said.


“We look forward to collaborating with LG Chem on future cell technologies that will continue to improve the value we deliver to our customers.”


GM has sourced batteries from Korean-based LG Chem for years, fitting them to electrified vehicles including the Volt and Bolt.


The new arrangement formalises the relationship while also giving each company a better insight into future directions for both batteries and EVs.


Work on the new factory’s construction is due to start in the middle of next year.

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