Ultium Cells, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors Co. in Detroit, announced a more than $2.3 billion investment to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States. The facility will be located in Spring Hill, Tenn.
Ultium Cells will build the new plant on land leased from GM. The new battery cell plant will create 1,300 new jobs. Construction on the approximately 2.8 million-square-foot facility will begin immediately, and the plant is scheduled to open in late 2023. Once operational, the facility will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant.
The first of LG’s joint venture plants with GM is currently under construction in Lordstown, Ohio, and will have a capacity of 35 GWh. The 2.8-million-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2022. LG Energy Solution is owned by South Korea’s LG Chem.
“The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future,” says Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors. “The support of the state of Tennessee was an important factor in making this investment in Spring Hill possible. This type of support will be critical moving forward as we continue to take steps to transition our manufacturing footprint to support EV production.”
GM states, the Spring Hill plant will use the most advanced and efficient battery cell manufacturing processes. The plant will be extremely flexible and able to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and materials.
“This partnership with General Motors will transform Tennessee into another key location for electric vehicle and battery production. It will allow us to build solid and stable U.S.-based supply chains that enable everything from research, product development and production to the procurement of raw components,” says Jonghyun Kim, president and CEO of LG Energy Solution. “Importantly, I truly believe this coming together transcends a partnership as it marks a defining moment that will reduce emissions and help to accelerate the adoption of EVs.”
GM’s proprietary Ultium battery technology is targeted for affordable transportation, luxury vehicles, work trucks, commercial trucks, or high-performance machines.
Ultium batteries are unique in the industry as the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside a battery pack. The setup allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design. Energy options range from 50 to 200 kilowatt hours, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to 450 miles or more on a full charge with 0-60 mph acceleration in 3 seconds.
GM’s future Ultium-powered EVs are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. Most will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200 kW fast charging capability, while GM’s truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast charging capability.
With a 30-year history in the battery business, LG Energy Solution has made consistent, large-scale investments to accumulate enough stability, credibility, and manufacturing experience to invent its own cutting-edge technologies. The company established its first research facility in the U.S. in the early 2000s. In 2010, the company built its first U.S battery plant in Holland, Mich.
Through Ultium Cells, LG Energy Solution and GM will merge their advanced technologies and capabilities to help accelerate automotive electrification.
General Motors has made several announcements in the last 18 months that underscore its commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future, including:
- GM committed more than $27 billion to EV and AV product development, including $7 billion in 2021, and plans to launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, with more than two-thirds available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick will all be represented, with EVs at all price points for work, adventure, performance and family use.
- In January 2021, GM unveiled BrightDrop, a new business that aims to electrify and improve the delivery of goods and services by offering an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to help empower delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently.
- In October 2020, GM announced it would invest $2 billion in its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant to begin the transition to become the company’s third vehicle manufacturing site to produce electric vehicles, joining Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan, and Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Michigan. The all-new Cadillac LYRIQ will be the first EV produced at GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant. Production of the Cadillac XT6 and XT5 will continue at Spring Hill.
- GM’s zero-emissions technology will extend to fuel cells as the company announced it will supply its Hydrotec fuel cell power cubes to Navistar for use in its production model fuel cell electric vehicle.
- In January 2020, GM announced it was investing more than $2 billion in its Factory ZERO, formerly the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Factory ZERO will be GM’s first plant that is 100 percent devoted to electric vehicles, and in fall 2021 will start production of the new GMC HUMMER EV pickup. In addition, Factory ZERO will also build the HUMMER EV SUV and the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck.
- In 2019, GM announced the formation of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with LG Energy Solution, to mass-produce battery cells in Lordstown, Ohio, for future battery-electric vehicles. Construction of the $2.3 billion facility is well underway.